Attorneys for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and the two men suing him in separate civil lawsuits went before a Kendall County judge Tuesday morning to discuss two motions filed in the cases.
In November, Judge Robert Pilmer dismissed the lawsuit filed against Hastert by Richard Doe, a former student who accused Hastert of molesting him in the early 1970s. However, Kristi Browne, a Chicago attorney representing Richard Doe, has requested that Pilmer reconsider his ruling.
“We are arguing that there has been, essentially, a misapplication of the law to the facts in this situation,” she said.
Browne said that when her client made his concerns known to then Kendall County State’s Attorney Dallas Ingemunson in the 1980s, he was rebuffed, and therefore the statute of limitations should have paused at that point. For his part, Ingemunson has said he never met with Doe.
“We’re saying that when our client made his complaint to a public official, and that public official, we’ve alleged, on behalf of Mr. Hastert, essentially made misrepresentations that prevented our client from filing his claim, that should have caused the statute of limitations to continue to toll,” she said.
Browne said there are certain factors that could cause a statute of limitations to toll, or essentially stand still.
Pilmer will hear the request at a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Feb. 23 at the Kendall County Courthouse in Yorkville.
Pilmer also heard arguments regarding a motion for a protective order in the case of James Doe v. Hastert, where the man who made a $3.5 million hush money agreement with Hastert says Hastert reneged on the contract when he stopped paying him. It was the agreement that led to federal prosecutors charging Hastert with criminal banking offenses and led to Hastert being sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. Hastert was released from prison last summer.
Browne had been seeking a protective order so some documents or other information is hidden from the public, as the payment agreement was related to James Doe accusing Hastert of molesting him as a minor. Browne filed a request on Dec. 28 for the court to determine the terms of the protective order as the two sides have not agreed to the specific terms, according to the court document.
However, at Tuesday’s hearing, Pilmer asked the two attorneys to continue working out terms of the agreement.
Browne said after the hearing that she wanted some documents kept confidential if one of the parties wants to designate them as such. However, she said John Ellis, attorney for Hastert, was requesting an “attorney’s eyes only” provision, which would not allow either client to review the documents and determine if they need to be confidential.
“We are objecting to an attorney’s eyes only provision; we don’t feel it’s appropriate in this case,” Browne said.
A hearing on that request will be heard at the same time as the Richard Doe motion, on Feb. 23 at 10 a.m.
“So to the extent the parties can agree on which individual items of discovery or depositions, we’ll submit those under the protective order,” Browne said. “To the extent we can’t agree on a particular item or deposition, we’d be asking for the court’s [ruling].”
Asked after Tuesday’s hearing if the public will ever know what Hastert says in his deposition, Browne said she was “not sure.”
“It’ll depend on how far this case goes,” Browne said. “It will depend on whether that deposition is ever submitted in support or in response to any motion in the court and whether it’s submitted under seal. But I think it’s way too early for me to tell that.”
Browne said she has not deposed anyone, but probably will do so within the “next few months.”