Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of illegally structuring cash withdrawals to evade bank currency-reporting requirements.
The Republican faces probation or up to six months in prison after he admitted to making the illegal cash withdrawals. U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin set sentencing for Feb. 29.
Sources say Hastert used the money to cover up accusations of sexual misconduct with a student when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach years ago, Politico reports.
Hastert has not commented publicly on the sexual misconduct allegations.
Asked by the judge to say what he did wrong, Hastert, 73, said in court, “I didn’t want them to know how I intended to spend the money. I withdrew the money in less than $10,000 increments.”
After Hastert was indicted in May, a Montana woman named Jolene Reinboldt stepped forward to claim he had sexually abused her now-deceased brother, Steve Reinboldt, for years while the former House Speaker worked at Yorkville High School in Illinois.
The reason for the payoffs was not detailed in the court papers, which referred to the former student as “Individual A.” According to NBC News, Reinboldt is not Individual A.