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For Victim's Sister, Hastert's Sentencing Will Be 'What We Were Hoping for'

by Stephanie Gosk and Alex Johnson /
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert outside court in Chicago last year.Charles Rex Arbogast / AP — file

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"It's going to be a good day" when former House Speaker Dennis Hastert faces sentencing Wednesday in his hush money case, the sister of one of his alleged sexual assault victims told NBC News on Tuesday.

Jolene Burdge, who says her older brother, Steve Reinboldt, was among those molested by the man who was once No. 2 in line to the presidency, believes Hastert's sentencing in a Chicago federal courtroom will give her and her family "just what we were hoping for."

In a lengthy interview with NBC News, Burdge said she confronted Hastert after she was "stunned" to see him at a memorial service for her brother, who had AIDS and died in August of 1995.

"I just knew that if that opportunity arose, there wasn't any question that I was going to go out and talk to him," Burdge said. "I proceeded to say that I wanted him to know that his secret didn't die with Steve."

Hastert remained stone-faced and silent, Burdge said, and "that was my confirmation."

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Hastert, 74, pleaded guilty last year to making illegal financial transactions to cover up payments totaling $3.5 million to another victim, identified in court documents only as "Individual A."

Individual A sued Hastert in Illinois state court for breach of contract this week seeking full payment of what he says Hastert owes him.

Dennis Hastert in an undated photo from the Yorkville, Illinois, High School yearbookNBC News

Hastert's lawyers said in a statement this month that he is "profoundly sorry" for "transgressions" he committed going back to the 1970s, when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.

Burdge said she plans to make a formal statement at the hearing Wednesday — during which, she said, she doesn't expect Hastert to look at her.

"This is a really important day for me and for Steve. We've just fought long and hard for this day," she said. "Just the fact that we're in court 20 years later is more than enough for me."

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