ABC 20 Streaming LiveSpotlight 20Pump PatrolRaw NewsPay It Forward

Forecast

SUNDAY: Cloudy and breezy with locally heavy rain. High: 565 Winds: Southeast 10-15 mph, gusting to 25 mph.

SUNDAY NIGHT: Rain showers continue into the evening with rain mixing with snow overnight as temperatures turn colder. ...

more »

Advertise with us!

Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Cellini Sentenced to 366 Days, $75K Fine

It's the end of a chapter of corruption in Illinois politics. A federal judge has sentenced the man many considered untouchable because of his immense wealth and political prowess.

Around 5:00 this afternoon, Springfield businessman Bill Cellini was sentenced to just one year and one day behind bars.

Cellini's fall from grace is the last major trial stemming from the federal conviction and downfall of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

A jury found Cellini guilty of plotting to shaking down a Hollywood producer for a campaign contribution to the former governor last year.

William Cellini briefly addressed the court before the judge handed down his sentence. During his remarks in front of the court, Cellini said the last five years have been the most difficult and trying time of his life. He added that he's worked years to build his reputation. He's proud of that, and it's all been destroyed by this. He added that this is a devastating end to his career.

In front of a crowded courtroom, Judge James Zagel said he believed William Cellini was a willing participant in a scheme to shake down a Hollywood producer for a $1.5 million campaign contribution to Rod Blagojevich back in 2004.

Cellini looked down as the judge sentenced him to one year and one day in prison and a $75,000 fine. He looked down as his lawyers and prosecutors made one last plea to the judge. They disagreed on the length of a sentence, but both agreed the court should show leniency based on Cellini's age.

Prosecutors had asked for a meaningful sentence, while the defense attorneys had asked for probation. They told the judge Cellini will turn 78 next month and is in poor health.

Last year, jurors found Cellini guilty on two counts: conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting the solicitation of a bribe.

Cellini remained mostly expressionless during the course of the two-hour sentencing this afternoon. His wife Julie cried before the start of the hearing.

Nearly 200 people tried to get into the courtroom--the same courtroom where the same judge last year sentenced Rod Blagojevich to 14 years in prison--to get a glimpse of this process.

More than 360 people wrote letters to the judge ahead of the sentencing. Everyone from former Gov. Jim Edgar, former Springfield mayor Karen Hassera, and Sangamon County Board chairman Andy van Meter wrote in asking the judge to sentence him to probation.

In addition to dozens of supporters in the courtroom, these letters were something the judge said he read and took into account. Van Meter wrote in his letter that he watched Cellini arrange agreements over four decades and witnessed "the highest ethical standards, infinite patience, and a genuine desire to help all honest parties."

The judge would like Cellini to report to prison on January 4, 2013.

RELATED:
Cellini: From Powerful to Powerless
Timeline: Cellini's Rise and Fall
Cellini Speaks About Sentencing

 
  • WICS :: News - The Ferguson Decision

    The Ferguson Decision



  • WICS :: News - Tracking Ebola

    Tracking Ebola



  • WICS :: News - Traffic

    Traffic

    Get up to the minute traffic reports from WICS NewsChannel 20!
  • WICS :: News - Road Trippin News

    Road Trippin News

    Missed a Road Trippin segment that aired in the news? Check it out here!
  • WICS :: News - Health Matters

    Health Matters

    Featuring news segment videos about health.
  • WICS :: News - In The Kitchen

    In The Kitchen

    Watch the area's best chefs whip up their tastiest creations. See them in action and get their recipes to try at home. 
  • WICS :: News - Behind The Headlines

    Behind The Headlines

    Get Behind the Headlines commentary with Mark Hyman.
  • WICS :: News - Ready, Set, Shred

    Ready, Set, Shred

    In an exclusive eight-week investigation, ABC Newschannel 20 digs deep into the Springfield police document shredding scandal.
  • WICS :: News - Pay it Forward

    Pay it Forward

    Pay It Forward... because sometimes people need a little extra help.
  • WICS :: News - Ask the Expert

    Ask the Expert

    Do you need expert advice? Here's your chance to ask our experts!
  • WICS :: News - Your Voice. Your Future.

    Your Voice. Your Future.

    As the country faces challenges from federal budget issues to jobs and national debt, your voice is critical to the future.
  • WICS :: News - Road Trippin

    Road Trippin

    Come Road Trippin' with us! Check out all the great attractions in your area!
  • WICS :: News - Pump Patrol

    Pump Patrol

    Check out the ABC Newschannel 20's Pump Patrol to find the lowest prices, report low prices and get gas saving tips.

  • WICS :: News - Spotlight 20

    Spotlight 20

    Local organizations and community leaders tell us about events in central Illinois.
  • WICS :: News - Raw News

    Raw News

    Watch extra news footage, full interviews, and extended stories that didn't make it on air.  "Raw News" may include content that is not suitable for children and is intended for mature audiences only.
  • WICS :: News - On the Farm

    On the Farm

    Whether it's topical segments on what's happening on local farms to commodity prices, we have the world of central Illinois agriculture covered.
  • WICS :: News - Fugitive Files

    Fugitive Files



  • WICS :: News - Home Room

    Home Room

    When's the next school board meeting? Where's the basketball game? What's for lunch today? Do we have a snow day tomorrow? We have all the information you need for a successful school year--no pencil or ...
  • WICS :: News - No Text Zone

    No Text Zone

    Texting while driving kills thousands of people each year. Many more are seriously injured.  Keep central Illinois roads safe by taking the "No Text Zone" pledge.
  • WICS :: News - Business News

    Business News

    Stay up-to-date on the biggest business stories from around the nation.
  • WICS :: News - Pet of the Week

    Pet of the Week

    The cutest video you'll see anywhere! You won't be able to resist these adorable friends who need someone to love them.
  • WICS :: News - Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments are using your money wisely...or wasting it.
  • WICS :: News - Washington Times

    Washington Times

    Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.
  • WICS :: News - Health Care Reform

    Health Care Reform

    The Supreme Court ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act sparked a new battle. Check here daily for the latest developments, locally and across the country.

more »

Tonight on WICS

10:00 - ABC Newschannel 20 Nightside

Complete Schedule »


WICS Pay It Forward
Scandal
WICS Cheers For The Years
Jimmy Kimmel
WICS Storm Team