Embattled former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert pleaded not guilty today in a Chicago courtroom to charges of bank fraud and lying to the FBI related to allegations of decades-old sexual misconduct.
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In late May Hastert was charged with one count each of "structuring currency transactions" and making false statements to the FBI about payments he allegedly made to an unnamed individual to conceal "prior misconduct." Federal officials told ABC News Hastert's alleged wrongdoing involves the sexual abuse of a male student while Hastert was serving as a high school teacher and wrestling coach decades ago.
Each count comes with a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Hastert was released on $4,500 bond today after surrendering his passport.
It was his first public appearance after more than 10 days hiding from in a sprawling Wisconsin vacation house, though was spotted Monday making the four-hour drive back to his Plano, Ill. home to prepare for his court appearance.
Last week the sister of a second alleged sexual abuse victim told ABC News that her brother, Steve Reinboldt, was molested by Hastert while Reinboldt was serving as his high school team's wrestling manager in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Decades later in Congress, Hastert often spoke about family values, and in sex scandals involving other lawmakers, presented himself as a guardian of children.
"Our children need to be protected and we are going to do everything we can to protect them," he said in 2006.
Hastert has retained high-powered D.C. defense attorney Thomas Green for his case. Neither Hastert nor Green have commented on the bank fraud or sexual abuse allegations.