* Lawyers for Bill Cellini sent out a press release quoting from some of the hundreds of letters they’ve collected on their client’s behalf. Some were from major players, others were from small fry. But they all praised the man, who faces sentencing on a federal corruption conviction. The press release is here.
* Jim Edgar…
“On many occasions I did not agree with Bill’s position on an issue and I would often take action which was contrary to Bill’s position. In all of this time and in all of these issues, I never personally saw nor did I hear on any of those occasions that Bill acted improperly in any manner. Bill never asked me to take any action which I deemed inappropriate.?
* Gene Callahan, who was Alan Dixon’s top guy…
“Never and I repeat N-E-V-E-R did Bill Cellini ever ask me to do anything illegal, immoral or unethical. Nor have I heard of anyone I respect say that Bill Cellini was anything less than honest.”
* The SJ-R has more. Former Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara…
“Bill never once asked me to take any action that was not ethical, honest, or in the best interest of my constituents.”
* Back to the Cellini press release…
Citing the trial record and jury verdict, the lawyers said that the government’s theory of his presumed political influence was rejected by the trial jury that acquitted Mr. Cellini on the two counts of the charges related to the widespread corruption alleged during the terms of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They argued it would be a legal impropriety to allow that theory to infect the sentencing and it would be fundamentally unfair. […]
[Cellini’s attorneys] also said the nature and circumstances of the offense support a probationary sentence.
“…Mr. Cellini stands convicted of some participation in a conspiracy to extort Tom Rosenberg, but it is undisputed (and likely almost without precedent in cases involving comparable facts) that Mr. Cellini was never even informed of and did not participate in the most critical aspects of that conspiracy, including the actual decision, planning, and alleged attempt to extort Rosenberg by providing him a choice between paying a kickback and making a campaign contribution. Indeed, it is uncontroverted that at least for a time, Mr. Cellini actively attempted to aid Rosenberg and defeat the extortion efforts of the mastermind of the conspiracy, Stuart Levine…Against that background, the evidence at trial and jury’s verdict established that Mr. Cellini did no more than act as a middle man for the purpose of smoothing out a situation he knew little about involving corrupt individuals with unknown plans and ulterior motives.
* And Cellini’s lawyers are also playing up the health angle…
In addition to a recent heart attack and persistent heart disease, they wrote, Cellini, 77, has had prostate cancer and is treated for “a frequently crippling neurological disorder, cervical spinal stenosis, that has twice resulted in his losing feeling in his arms and hand and needing to undergo emergency evaluation as to whether he had actually had a stroke.”
He has also been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis, another degenerative disk disease “that can result in weakness or numbness in the limbs and difficulty walking,” the memo says.
Cellini suffered a heart attack June 4 while undergoing a heart catheterization, the document says. Tests showed afterward that his heart had been seriously damaged, it states.
“Mr. Cellini has not been able to commence full cardiovascular rehabilitation as yet … because following the heart attack and stent implanting, an acute (blood) clot was discovered in his leg and groin, which was deemed by his physicians to be a life-threatening health risk,” the lawyers write.
“Medications have contained the clot in the area, but a doctor has told Cellni that ‘he has a propensity for clots for form, which can be deadly,’ and if there are any symptoms of clotting, ‘Mr. Cellini must immediately obtain emergency treatment or risk the possibility of a stroke or death.’”