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Cellini to be Sentenced Tomorrow
A major player in Springfield's political scene will be sentenced tomorrow in a federal courthouse.
Bill Cellini was convicted last year of trying to extort a contribution from a Hollywood producer for then-governor Rod Blagojevich.
Cellini's lawyers will make the case Cellini should stay out of prison. They will cite things like his health issues, his history of helping others, and support from others as reasons the 77-year-old should avoid being put behind bars.
In fact, his lawyers released a press release quoting hundreds of letters their side has received in support: people like former Gov. Jim Edgar, Sangamon County Chairman Andy Van Meter, and former Springfield mayor Karen Hasara.
Federal prosecutors have filed papers recommending Cellini should face up to eight years under federal sentencing guidelines.
Jon Gray Noll, a Springfield attorney who knows Cellini, said a more likely sentencing is three to four years.
"I believe, and if you look at the pleadings from the U.S. attorney's office, they are acknowledging there are other factors outside of the sentencing guidelines issued that would warrant a downward deviation by the federal court there," Noll said.
Cellini's lawyers said the Springfield resident has suffered a heart attack, had previous prostate cancer, and has persistent heart disease.
Cellini is one of the last connections to the legal chapters surrounding Rod Blagojevich. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting the solicitation of a bribe.
Sentencing is expected sometime Thursday. Cellini was suppoed to be sentenced in June, but judge James Zagel delayed the sentencing to Thursday because of Cellini's health issues.