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By Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune (TNS)

CHICAGO — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has hired longtime Washington criminal defense attorney Thomas Green to represent him on charges that Hastert arranged to pay $3.5 million to cover up wrongdoing against an acquaintance.

The announcement that Green, of the firm Sidley Austin, was representing Hastert comes nearly two weeks after his indictment and a day before he is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Carter Phillips, a partner at Sidley Austin, confirmed in an email Monday afternoon that Green was hired. He said the firm would have no comment before the hearing, scheduled for 2 p.m. CDT Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin.

According to his biography on Sidley Austin’s website, Green has “represented members of Congress and other public officials in responding to some of the most well-known and significant federal and congressional investigations of official misconduct.”

Hastert will enter a plea to the charges Tuesday and be processed by the U.S. Marshals Service. He is likely to be released on his own recognizance.

Hastert’s arraignment is expected to generate media coverage unseen at the courthouse since then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s arrest on corruption charges nearly seven years ago.

Hastert was charged in an indictment unsealed May 28 with illegally structuring bank withdrawals over 4 { years to conceal $1.7 million in hush payments to “Individual A,” whom law enforcement sources describe as a former Yorkville (Ill.) High School student Hastert had sexually abused decades earlier. Hastert also was charged with lying to FBI agents who questioned him about the withdrawals in December.

Federal agents also have interviewed a second person who raised similar allegations of sexual abuse against Hastert that corroborated the account of the initial alleged victim, another law enforcement source said after the indictment.

Last week, a former Yorkville resident said Hastert abused her now-deceased brother while he was a student. Jolene Burdge, now of Montana, told ABC News that her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, was abused by Hastert for years before he graduated in 1971. Hastert was the wrestling coach, and Reinboldt was an equipment manager for the team.

(c)2015 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Photo: ASIS International via Flickr

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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