CHICAGO (CBS) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he paid hush money to conceal wrongdoing before he entered politics, and lied to the FBI when questioned about the money.
Dressed in a dark blue suit, the 73-year-old Hastert appeared frail, hunching over as he walked through a crowd of photographers and reporters waiting outside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on Tuesday.
Hastert pleaded guilty when he appeared before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin. He was allowed to remain free on his own recognizance, and would only have to post $4,500 bill if he misses a court date.
He was ordered to provide a DNA sample, surrender his passport, avoid contact with anyone named in the indictment, and surrender all firearms in his possession. Hastert’s two sons have firearms on his property, and at the request of his attorneys, Durkin gave Hastert’s sons two weeks to remove those guns from the property.
Durkin acknowledged he once worked with Hastert’s son, Ethan, at a law firm, but said they are not friends, have not seen each other in years, and have not discussed the case. Durkin also admitted making two campaign contributions to Hastert before Durkin was a judge, but said he has never met the defendant. Durkin said the case was assigned to him at random, and he has “no doubt I can be impartial in this matter,” but said he would leave it up to prosecutors and defense attorneys to decide if another judge should be assigned to the case.