- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge on Tuesday delayed former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s first court appearance until next week following his indictment in Chicago in a hush-money case.

The Illinois Republican was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, but the hearing has now been pushed back to June 9. The change was made without explanation in a one-sentence court filing by U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin’s clerk.

The 73-year-old former congressman was charged last week in an indictment that alleges he agreed to pay $3.5 million to ensure someone from the town where he taught and coached high school wrestling stayed quiet about his “prior misconduct.”

Hastert hasn’t spoken or appeared in public since his indictment. No attorney has spoken on his behalf and no lawyer is named on his court docket.

The indictment charges Hastert with evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting rules. He also is charged with lying to the FBI. Each count carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

Questions were raised Monday about whether Durkin, the judge assigned to the case, might consider recusing himself because he donated $1,500 to Hastert’s re-election campaign more than a decade ago. Durkin, whose brother is the Republican leader in the Illinois House, was an attorney at the time.

Durkin’s judicial office has declined comment.

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Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mtarm

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