Plea deal in the works federal charges against former U.S. House Speaker

CHICAGO — The hush-money case against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert may not go to trial.

Prosecutors and Hastert’s attorneys told a federal judge in Chicago they’re discussing a plea deal on charges Hastert lied to the FBI and violated banking laws in paying $3.5 million to cover allegations of sexual misconduct.

“This is not a situation where both sides are sitting on their hands,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Block.

A deal would mean not only a lighter sentence for Hastert, but he would avoid a public trial where the person he was allegedly paying off—known only as “Individual A”—may testify about what information he or she had on Hastert.

The two sides have been given until October 15 to either reach a plea deal, or a federal judge will set a trial date for as soon as March.