Chicago Tribune on July 12, 2012 released the following:
“8-year sentence recommended for fundraiser, lobbyist Cellini
By Annie Sweeney, Chicago Tribune reporter
Longtime state power broker William Cellini deserves to go to prison for up to eight years for attempting to extort a campaign contribution from a Hollywood producer, federal prosecutors argued for his upcoming sentencing.
But prosecutors went on to say they understood if U.S. District Judge James Zagel imposes a lower sentence given Cellini’s age — 77 — and health problems.
“The government agrees that the combination of Cellini’s health and age makes this one of the relatively rare situations where it may well be appropriate to impose a sentence below” the 61/2 to eight years in prison called for under federal guidelines, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.
Cellini was admitted twice last month to a hospital in Springfield after first suffering a heart attack and then after his doctors discovered a blood clot, according to his lawyers.
Cellini is scheduled to be sentenced July 23 in federal court in Chicago.
In the 29-page court filing, prosecutors argued that any break given to Cellini “should be relatively modest” and rejected calls by the defense for probation.
“Cellini’s medical condition, however, is not a basis to excuse him from a meaningful sentence of incarceration,” the prosecution filing said.
A federal jury convicted Cellini in November of conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting in the solicitation of a bribe for trying to extort a contribution for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign from a Hollywood producer who wanted to keep his lucrative business with the state.
In their filing, prosecutors recounted how for decades Cellini, a powerful Republican lobbyist and fundraiser, allegedly used his clout to exercise “considerable influence over governmental functions despite the fact that he held no official title.”
“Cellini goes too far … by suggesting that his age and health justify a sentence of probation,” the government wrote. “In contrast, a meaningful sentence of incarceration would send a strong message of deterrence to those who are tempted to corrupt governmental functions. Such a sentence would demonstrate that, no matter how much money you accumulate, or how many friends and supporters you enjoy, there is no protection from prison when you are caught corrupting public institutions.”
Cellini’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.”
Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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