YORKVILLE, Ill. — In late May, J. Dennis Hastert, the former U.S. House speaker, was indicted by a federal grand jury, accused of breaking banking laws in an attempt to hide "past misconduct."
That misconduct was later revealed to be an allegation that Hastert — a former wrestling coach and high school teacher — had sexually molested a student in Illinois decades ago.
Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the House, has been in seclusion and publicly silent since the indictment on May 28. But he is expected to appear in court Tuesday afternoon, due for arraignment before U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin at 2 p.m. Central time in downtown Chicago.
Hastert faces two felony charges, neither of which relate directly to the allegations of sexual misconduct that have drawn the attention of friends and associates in Yorkville — the Illinois community about 50 miles from Chicago where he taught — as well as Washington and beyond.
He stands accused of illegally "structuring" cash transactions in a manner to avoid federal bank reporting requirements and with lying to FBI agents who confronted him about the cash payments.
On Monday, ABC News reported that Hastert emerged from a vacation property in Wisconsin to drive to his home in Plano, Ill., "where he did not slow down as he was met by reporters at the gate. "
With the indictment, Hastert will be come the latest in a long, bipartisan line of political defendants to walk into the glass-and-steel Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse.
Most recently, Chicago's federal courthouse was the venue for the two lengthy trials, in 2010 and 2011, of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich (D). The first ended in a mistrial; the second ended in convictions on 17 counts, and Blagojevich is now serving a 14-year prison term.
In 2006, the 30-story courthouse hosted the trial of former Illinois governor George Ryan (R), who was convicted on charges related to steering state contracts and served more than five years in prison.
Hastert will be represented by Thomas C. Green, a veteran Washington-based white-collar defender. Green's hiring was confirmed Monday by Carter G. Phillips, chairman of Green's firm, Sidley Austin LLP.
Green has a 40-year history of representing political figures in some of Washington's most infamous scandals, including Watergate, Iran-Contra and the "Keating Five." More recently, he represented a key figure in the federal investigation into former D.C. mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 election campaign.
While Green is based in Washington, Sidley Austin is a storied firm founded in Chicago shortly after the Civil War. In 1989, Barack Obama worked as a summer associate in the Chicago office, where he met his future wife, Michelle Robinson.
Notably, Hastert is not being represented by Dickstein Shapiro, the firm whose lobbying practice he led until the day of the indictment.
In the past few days, former wrestlers whom Hastert had coached as teens have received knocks on their doors and telephone calls from journalists as the story traveled around the globe. At the Yorkville Public Library, where old high school yearbooks are kept, a sign-up sheet carried the names of reporters who had stopped by on Friday and Saturday.
"I think this town is more shocked about it than anything else," said Yorkville resident Richard Barbieri, 61. "Disbelief, I would say, more. Of anything that would be — he's always been a nice guy. That's why I find it strange."
The indictment alleges that Hastert, who is expected to be asked to enter a plea Tuesday, was trying to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed individual as part of a coverup. The act or acts that Hastert was accused of trying to hide are believed to have occurred while he was an Illinois teacher, before his days as a politician.
The victim is believed to be a former student, though Hastert isn't expected to face charges in connection with the molestation allegations.
"He doesn't strike me as the type of person to do anything," Barbieri said. "But I keep going back to the point of — why would he be paying a bribe? To save his reputation? Is it worth that much money to save your reputation? I don't know."
DeBonis reported from Washington, where Alice Crites also contributed. This post, originally published June 8, has been updated.