Ex-House Speaker Hastert due in court on federal charges on Thursday

By Mary Wisniewski CHICAGO (Reuters) - Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert will appear in a Chicago court on Thursday to face federal charges related to his alleged effort to hide $3.5 million in payments he was making to conceal past misconduct. Hastert, 73, will appear at 10 a.m. CDT (1500 GMT) before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin, according to court records updated on Monday. Hastert has not made a public statement since the indictment last week. An attorney for Hastert is not yet listed in court records. The Illinois Republican, who left Congress in 2007, was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash to evade a requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his withdrawals, prosecutors said. Various national media reports, citing unnamed law enforcement officials, have said the cash exchanges had to do with sexual contact decades ago with a male former student of Hastert's when he was a high school coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois. Before his terms in Congress, Hastert served three terms as an Illinois state representative and was a teacher at Yorkville High School in suburban Chicago for 16 years, according to a biography from Wheaton College, where he graduated in 1964. Hastert also was a football and wrestling coach at the high school. According to the indictment, the unspecified misconduct involved payments to an unnamed individual who had been a Yorkville resident and had known Hastert for most of the person's life. Hastert met with the person several times around 2010 and discussed past misconduct by the former lawmaker, the indictment said. Eventually, Hastert agreed to pay the person $3.5 million in compensation to conceal the misconduct, the indictment said. Shortly afterward, Hastert began making cash payments to the individual, according to the indictment. He withdrew $1.7 million in cash from various domestic bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and gave it to the person, the indictment said. As part of the fallout from the unfolding scandal, Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts institution, removed Hastert's name from its public policy center on Sunday. Each count in the two-count indictment against Hastert carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. (Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Lisa Lambert, Emily Stephenson and Bill Trott)