Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert may be an accused child molester, but he's not a poor one, not after years of working as a high-paid lobbyist. That lobbying money has come in handy of late and not only to cover up "past misconduct." Hastert has dipped into his savings hired some of the best lawyers money can buy.
The ex-speaker has retained Thomas Green, a well known white-collar defense attorney, to represent him against accusations that he broke banking laws in an attempt to pay off a victim of sexual abuse.
The Case Against the Ex-Speaker
Representing Hastert will be no easy task, of course. Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the House of Representatives, was first a teacher and wrestling coach before entering politics. Federal prosecutors accuse Hastert of trying to buy the silence a former male student whom he allegedly molested -- at the cost of $3.7 million.
It's not the past molestation that's the basis of the charges, however. It's that Hastert attempted to avoid detection -- which really is the whole point of paying hush money -- by failing to disclose large withdrawals. Hastert allegedly broke up his withdrawals so they were just under the reporting requirements, a practice that doesn't usually work, according to Reuters. Hastert was arraigned on those charges in Chicago yesterday and pleaded not guilty.
A Veteran of Political Scandals
Green is no stranger to representing infamous politicians, however. A partner at Washington-based Sidley Austin, Green has represented Robert Mardian, for example. Mardian is best known for his involvement in Watergate, a scandal even bigger than Hastert's. Mardian was a former assistant attorney general who was convicted of conspiring to cover up the Watergate break-ins -- Green helped get his conviction overturned.
Watergate might be Green's highest profile case, but it's not his only one. He's also defended officials involved in the Whitewater and Iran-Contra controversies and currently represents the former CEO of Freddie Mac. That Green is not afraid of a scandal is good news for Hastert, whose old firm, Dickstein Shapiro, withdrew from representing him recently, The Washington Post reports.