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Hastert prosecutors request secrecy order for 'sensitive' evidence

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves Chicago's Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, after pleading not guilty to charges that he evaded bank regulations and lied to the FBI.

TERRENCE ANTONIO JAMES/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS

By KEVIN JOHNSON | USA Today (Tribune News Service) | Published: June 13, 2015

Federal prosecutors requested that attorneys for former House speaker Dennis Hastert, who is charged in an alleged hush money scandal, be prohibited from disclosing certain "sensitive" evidence in the case to anyone other than those authorized by the court.

"The discovery to be provided by the government in this case includes sensitive information, the unrestricted dissemination of which could adversely affect law enforcement interests and the privacy interests of third parties," prosecutors said in their request to U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin.

The motion, which prosecutors said is not opposed by Hastert's lawyers, does not elaborate on the nature of the evidence that the government has gathered in support of charges that the former speaker lied to the FBI and illegally structured bank withdrawals to pay an associate to keep quiet about past misconduct.

The government's indictment identifies the associate only as "Individual A," and it does not characterize the nature of the past conduct.

A law enforcement official has told USA TODAY that the activity was sexual in nature and involved a young man Hastert knew during his tenure as a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School, a small town west of Chicago.

Hastert pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, but he has not specifically addressed the underlying conduct.

A hearing on the government's request for the protective order has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday.    

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