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US: Former House Speaker to Plead Guilty in Hush-Money Case

FILE - Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, right, departs the federal courthouse in Chicago with attorney Thomas Green after his arraignment on charges he broke federal banking laws and lied about the money when questioned by the FBI, June 2015.

A former Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives agreed Thursday to plead guilty to wrongdoing in a hush money case linked to allegations of long-ago sexual misconduct.

The lawyer for Dennis Hastert, who was House speaker for nine years until 2007 and second in line to the presidency at the time, told a Chicago court the one-time powerful political figure would offer his guilty plea at an October 28 hearing.

The 73-year-old Hastert is accused of breaking banking laws and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about efforts to withdraw money from his bank account to pay someone from his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois, $3.5 million over several years to hide unspecified claims of past misconduct.

Before being elected to Congress and eventually becoming the House leader, Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach. Anonymous officials familiar with the case have told U.S. media outlets that Hastert was attempting to cover up sexual misconduct from that period of his life in the 1960s and 1970s.

Hastert could be imprisoned and fined in the case, but no details of his plea deal with prosecutors were disclosed.