Speed Reads


Rep. Peter King on Hastert hush-money scandal: 'The only victim here is Denny Hastert'

Last month, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was indicted on charges of lying to the FBI and allegedly concealing millions in bank withdrawals to be paid out as hush money to cover up an alleged sexual abuse scandal. Soon after, an Illinois woman came forward claiming that Hastert sexually abused her brother while he served as equipment manager under Coach Hastert on Yorkville High School's wrestling team in 1970.

But in an interview on The John Gambling Show, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who served under Hastert, steadfastly denied any wrongdoing on Hastert's part.

"Apparently this person came and threatened to disclose something on Denny Hastert that goes back over 35 years, that happened 35 years ago, and he was taking money out illegally to pay the person," he said, implying that the former speaker was blackmailed. "The only victim here is Denny Hastert."

“What happened back in the 60s or 70s, I don’t know,” King added. As ThinkProgress points out, whether Hastert was actually blackmailed is an issue more complicated than it may appear. Listen to the comments in full (starting around 20:25) in the interview below. Samantha Rollins