Prosecutors outline case against power broker Cellini
Longtime Springfield insider faces corruption, bribery charges
By Annie Sweeney, Tribune reporter
Weeks before longtime state power broker William Cellini is set to stand trial, federal prosecutors detailed evidence they have against him, including statements he allegedly made about what to do if law enforcement closed in and about his decades of navigating Illinois politics.
A longtime Republican fundraiser, Cellini cozied up to Democrat Rod Blagojevich during the 2002 governor's race and struck a deal with Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly, two of Blagojevich's closest advisers, authorities said. He faces charges of extortion, conspiracy and bribery.
He is accused of agreeing to raise money for Blagojevich as a way to protect his power and influence in Springfield, specifically at the state teacher pension board. He is also accused of trying to shake down a Hollywood producer for campaign contributions for Blagojevich.