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State

Judge refuses to lift veil of secrecy on Dennis Hastert depositions

YORKVILLE – A Kendall County judge has ruled that lawyers for a former Yorkville High School wrestling team member must pay $2,000 to lawyers for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert in a breach-of-contract case.

The anonymous plaintiff’s lawyers are trying to get the judge to simply rule that Hastert must pay the $1.8 million in hush-money payments he agreed to make to the man who says Hastert molested him. However, the man’s attorneys now must pay for their continued attempts to make public details from depositions in the case.

Judge Robert Pilmer ruled on April 5 to grant the motion to quash a subpoena filed by Hastert’s lawyers and Sidley Austin, who represented Hastert during his criminal sentencing, for violating bank laws in 2016. He also granted the defense’s motion for sanctions for related fees and costs and ordered the plaintiff’s counsel to pay $2,000 to cover those costs, which included a couple of dozen hours of attorneys’ time.

“It’s probably not sufficient to cover the hourly rate, but I think it’s substantial,” Pilmer said.
The man named in the civil lawsuit as James Doe has accused Hastert of sexually abusing him while Hastert was a teacher at Yorkville High School and allegedly worked out a hush-money agreement with Hastert. Hastert taught at the high school and coached wrestling between 1965 and 1981.

Doe said in his deposition that he and Hastert had an oral agreement that Doe would not tell anyone Hastert had sexually assaulted him in a motel room, according to court documents. In exchange, Hastert was to pay Doe $3.5 million.

Hastert allegedly paid Doe $1.7 million from summer 2010 through December 2014, court documents said, before he ran afoul of federal banking regulations. Hastert served 13 months in federal prison on those banking charges. Hastert served as a congressman from 1987 to 2007 and was Speaker from 1999 to 2007. He represented part of DeKalb County during that time.

Pilmer did not rule on the motion for summary judgment, which Doe’s lawyers filed March 15. Doe’s lawyers said in the motion, which has been heavily redacted in court records, that there are no issues of fact requiring trial in this case.

“It is time for the court to grant James Doe the compensation Hastert agreed to pay,” Doe’s lawyers said in the motion for summary judgment.

A private pre-trial conference is scheduled for 10 a.m., May 3, in Courtroom 115 at the Kendall County Courthouse, 807 John St., Yorkville. If the case goes to trial, jury selection is scheduled for 1 p.m., June 12, in the same courtroom.

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