Intelligence Report: Prosecutors want 'meaningful' prison term for William Cellini

July 11, 2012 4:15:13 PM PDT
Corrupt Illinois powerbroker William Cellini is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on July 23. In this Intelligence Report: We've learned what prosecutors will request for the 77-year-old Cellini, who is in ill health.

According to the government's sentencing memorandum, prosecutors will ask for what they call "a meaningful term of imprisonment" when Bill Cellini is sentenced a week from Monday. When you are 77 years old, just suffered a heart attack and a subsequent blood clot, meaningful may sound an awful lot like a death sentence.

As the state's consummate political insider, Cellini spent four decades straddling the party fenceposts. He played as a Republican when George Ryan was governor and as a Democrat when Rod Blagojevich came to office.

At age 77, and with serious health issues, Cellini wants probation for the pay-to-play crimes for which a federal jury convicted him.

In a memo filed with the court Wednesday afternoon, the government says probation for Cellini would be wrong.

The federal sentencing range for such a conviction is from 78-97 months and prosecutors say Cellini's age and infirmity do not outweigh his crimes.

"Cellini's proposed sentence of probation would send exactly the wrong signal," prosecutors wrote. "It would not promote respect for the law but...would deprecate the seriousness of Cellini's effort to use $220 million in teachers' money to extort campaign contributions."

Few years ago Cellini's net worth was $150 million, according to the government filing-- most of it Cellini made off the backs of Illinois taxpayers.

In November a jury convicted Cellini of trying to shakedown an Oscar-winning Hollywood producer for donations to Rod Blagojevich. Last month he suffered a heart attack and a few weeks later a blood clot.

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