CHICAGO (STMW) — Dennis Hastert’s lawyers will try to defend the former U.S. House speaker against allegations that he lied to the FBI and skirted banking laws by first picking apart the indictment unveiled by federal prosecutors in May.
Hastert’s legal team revealed the strategy when they returned to U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin’s courtroom Tuesday. Criminal defense attorney Thomas Green said he plans to file several motions in an attempt to dismantle the prosecutors’ case against the once powerful Republican.
Green said he’ll even file a motion to dismiss Hastert’s indictment entirely. Portions of that motion might be filed under seal.
“We have some serious things to say in this motion, or in these motions,” Green said.
While Green couldn’t tell the judge whether he expects the case to end in a trial or a guilty plea to criminal charges, Green acknowledged some motions he’s planning anticipate the former.
“Right now, we are gearing for trial,” Green said.
But Green also said “this case presents special problems.” He told the judge Hastert’s indictment was “effectively amended” in an “impermissible” way when unnamed sources told media outlets the $3.5 million in hush money Hastert agreed to pay to cover up past misconduct went to a longtime male acquaintance to cover up alleged sexual misconduct.
“There’s now an 800-pound gorilla in this case,” Green said.
The high-powered white-collar defense attorney from Washington, D.C., also said he’d seek the judge’s permission to subpoena records in the case, including from the banks where Hastert allegedly structured his cash withdrawals.
While much of the case against Hastert has been clouded in secrecy, Durkin warned Green that he must seek the judge’s permission before filing a motion — like the motion to dismiss — under seal. And even if it’s sealed, the judge said he might unseal it later if he makes a ruling based on the motion.
“The public has a right to know how I reach a decision,” Durkin said.
Green has now used two consecutive court hearings to complain about leaks to the media about the case against Hastert. When Hastert’s legal team gathered in front of Durkin in June, Green told the judge “something has to be done” about the leaks.
“They’re unconscionable, and they have to stop,” Green said in June.
Lawyers are not expected to return to Durkin’s courtroom until Oct. 20.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2015. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)