I’m fascinated by the lawsuit filed against Dennis Hastert by one of his alleged sexual abuse victims for breach of contract. In essence, the suit says that Hastert agreed to pay him around $3 million in compensation but only paid 1/2 of that (due to the feds catching on to the former Speaker’s attempt to structure his payments to avoid detection.) Now the plaintiff wants the other half.
I don’t how this suit can succeed (though the point of this is probably just to make clear what Hastert allegedly did). If this is understood as a payment of blackmail, then the contract cannot be enforced as a matter of public policy. How can it not be construed that way? If Hastert had refused to pay, what would the plaintiff have done? Nothing?
Granted, if the allegations against Hastert are true, then he’s an awful, awful human being. And perhaps blackmail should not be unlawful in circumstances such as this. But it is, and thus I don’t think that a failure to pay can be converted into a contract action.