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Cellini Speaks About Sentencing
A judge sentenced Bill Cellini to one year and one day behind bars today for plotting to shake down a Hollywood producer for a campaign contribution. His trial is the last major piece of a nearly decade-long investigation into former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The sentence includes a $75,000 fine and two years of supervision once Cellini is released from prison.
Nearly 200 people tried to get a seat in the courtroom to hear the sentence. Before the judge handed down the sentence, Cellini appeared shaky as he walked up to the judge to address the court.
In brief remarks, he said he deeply regrets the pain and suffering he's caused his family. He added that this is a devistating way to end his career.
The judge said the man once known as the "King of Clout" made a series of unwise decisions. He added this was a bad time and bad circumstances.
Cellini's attornies plan to appeal the sentence. They asked the judge for probation based on Cellini's character, age, and health.
Ann Lousin, a John Marshall Law School professor who has worked in state government, said his health may play a role in how long he serves.
"If he really gets seriously ill, then the question will be whether the judge will try to commute the sentence," Lousin said. "They could always come back in and say commute the sentence, let him go home, and let him be supported by his family. I think there's an argument for that, because he's not going to do anything. He's not going to be in government."
Last year, jurors convicted Cellini on two charges related to a plot to shake down a Hollywood producer for a $1.5 million donation to Blagojevich. The carches are conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting solicitaiton of a bribe.
Cellini remained mostly expressionless during the hearing today. Dozens of people, including a few familiar faces from the Sangamon County Complex, sat behind him in the courtroom in support.
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