Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert will appear before a federal judge in Chicago Tuesday. He is expected to enter a plea relating to federal charges that stem from Hastert's alleged efforts to conceal sexual misconduct against a young male student decades ago. That's when we find out if he intends to fight the charges that could -- if proven -- send him to prison.
After more than a week of salacious stories that have tarnished his record and left his life in ruins, Hastert finally gets his day in court.
He has remained largely out of public view for the past two weeks, but has retained Washington attorney Thomas Green, who has defended high-profile clients all the way back to the Watergate scandal. Hastert stands accused of trying to conceal huge bank withdrawals and then lying about why to the FBI.
Officially, the federal indictment said Hastert made the withdrawals starting in 2010 in the course of transferring more than $1.5 million to a person identified as "Individual A" to keep that person quiet about past misconduct by Hastert.
Unofficially, sources say it was sexual misconduct -- and it took place when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Illinois from 1965 to 1981.
Patrick Collins is a former federal prosecutor who says a trial would be risky for Hastert because it could bring out more damaging information from his past.
"If there is a trial, I believe the name of Individual A comes out. Individual A may well testify. If there's an individual B and C and D, those names come out," Collins said.
As speaker, Hastert was a towering national figure, but especially in rural Yorkville, many are having a hard time reconciling the man they knew with the one going before a judge Tuesday afternoon.
Gary Matlock, a wrestler Hastert coached, said he was not aware of anything inappropriate. When asked whether the reports have shaken his respect for Hastert, Matlock responded, "I don't know if the word is 'shaken.'"
"It's surprised me. It's disappointed me. It's given me second thoughts, I guess, is what I'm saying," Matlock said.