ormer U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded not guilty to charges in a federal hush-money case.

During Hastert's first court appearance since he was indicted last month, defense attorney Thomas C. Green entered the pleas on Hastert's behalf. He also waived the reading of the indictment.

The May 28 indictment says he agreed to pay $3.5 million to keep someone, referred to only as ``Individual A,'' from revealing a secret about past misconduct.

The judge is giving lawyers until Thursday to say if they want him to stay on the case. Judge Thomas M. Durkin said today he had no doubt he could be impartial.

Prosecutors haven't said if they will ask Durkin to recuse himself after Federal Election Commission records showed he donated $500 to the ``Hastert for Congress'' campaign in 2002 and $1,000 in 2004. Durkin was an attorney at a Chicago law firm at the time of the contributions. (Associated Press)

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