Tag Archives: William Cellini trial

William Cellini trial jury, How Stuart Levine a thief and con man became star witness, Where is Tony Rezko?

William Cellini trial jury, How Stuart Levine a thief and con man became star witness, Where is Tony Rezko?

“Why was Obama promoting Capri Capital and other investment firms at the same time that Rezko, Levine and Cellini were shaking them down?”…Citizen Wells

“Why was Tony Rezko’s sentencing delayed?”…Citizen Wells

“There is enough corruption in Illinois so that all it takes is someone who is serious about finding it to uncover it. If a U.S. attorney is not finding corruption in Illinois, they’re not seriously looking for it.”…Northwestern Law Professor James Lindgren

Here is another example of why “WE” is capitalized in Citizen WElls. From Commenter and astute observer of Chicago corruption, Bessie, at 10:40 AM.

“In today’s SunTimes there is a propaganda article spoon fed by the
prosecution their justification for choosing Stuart Levine…No mention
of how Tony Rezko would make a better witness, having never been a
drug addict, nor did he ever rip off close friends estate, or have
affairs on his wife with multiple male companions, or suffer long term
brain damage from over 30 years of drug use. They planted this piece
in the weekend paper hoping the jury would read it…and we are suppose
to trust the U.S. Attorney’s office?

Tony Rezko and his partner Daniel T. Frawley will be sentenced
November 22 and 23rd, the day before Thanks Giving, hoping no one will
cover or notice…They think they can sweep these two under the rug and
no one will notice….We should let them know we are WATCHING we are
paying attention and they could sentence them on Christmas day and we
will be there.”

From the Chicago SunTimes October 30, 2011.

“How Stuart Levine — a thief and con man — became star witness”

“To most people, Stuart Levine probably appears unassuming enough.

At 65, he works at a kiosk in a suburban shopping mall selling
electronic cigarettes.

But if the man helping bring down some of the most powerful people in
the state hoped to disappear into suburban obscurity, that hasn’t
quite happened.

Some days while behind that kiosk, the former Highland Park resident
once worth $70 million gets hecklers.

Those are the people who recognize the now minimum-wage-earning
Levine, having had a glimpse of his lurid history, painstakingly laid
bare in public twice after Levine has spent parts of 21 days
testifying in two high-profile criminal trials in Chicago.

He most recently sat as the star witness in the federal trial of
Springfield power broker William Cellini.

If Cellini is convicted, the much-reviled Levine will have been
central to sending some of the most prominent and back-room politicos
to prison. That includes Tony Rezko, a onetime political fund-raiser
to Barack Obama. Levine was the star witness in Rezko’s 2008 trial,
which led to his conviction.

Levine wore a wire against Ed Vrdolyak, a onetime alderman and
behind-the-scenes political force for decades. Vrdolyak ended up
pleading guilty to taking part in a $1.5 million bribery scheme.

Then there’s former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose corruption
investigation stemmed from a probe into corruption involving state
boards that blossomed with Levine. Once he flipped, Levine spent years
getting debriefed by various teams of federal agents and prosecutors.

“This was a massive undertaking,” said Levine’s lawyer, Jeffrey
Steinback, of his client’s role in cooperating since 2004. “You’re
talking about analyzing activities of the entire state government and
having to understand who and what and how it worked and figuring out
from the government’s standpoint who was culpable and who wasn’t.””

“Defense lawyers have repeatedly lambasted the government for pitting
Levine, someone who has admitted to conning people out of millions of
dollars, against defendants who aren’t accused of pocketing any money.

Webb noted Levine spent the better part of his adult life committing
reprehensible crimes, then pointed to an on-screen timeline: the
evidence tied to the criminal allegations against Cellini spanned just
a few days in May of 2004.

“Levine is a whack-job. Okay?” Webb told them.

In his 2008 closing argument, Rezko’s attorney, Joseph Duffy, said
Levine had spent decades living a double-life and fooling the world.
It didn’t end when he faced natural life in prison with no possibility
of parole after admitting to all of his crimes, Duffy argued.

“They are trained to suspect deception, and he conned them,” Duffy
said of the government. “He got the better of them, and he got his

Levine’s deal calls for a prison term of five years, seven months.”

“But there’s another side of the story, prosecutors say: there are few
“choir boys” that can expose Illinois’ odorous underworld.

“Flippers like Levine, you don’t see them too often. He’s an anomaly,”
said former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer. “The government would have
preferred to have put an honest man on the stand. The problem is that
defendants who are on tape trying to extort money never conspire with
honest men.””
“Testimony at trial showed Levine routinely schemed for kickbacks while
serving on state boards, including the Teachers’ Retirement System. In
2004, when he left the board, he didn’t give the real reason: the FBI
had come knocking on his door and played tapes of him secretly
scheming to make kickbacks off board business.”


Why call Tony Rezko as a witness?

He was only mentioned 75 times in the Cellini indictment and has no drug issues.

He knows everything about corruption in Chicago or as someone stated “He knows where all the bodies are.”

Oops, that may be a problem for you know who.

Stuart Levine testimony, William Cellini trial, Star witness tells of deals made with Cellini, Where is Tony Rezko?

Stuart Levine testimony, William Cellini trial, Star witness tells of deals made with Cellini, Where is Tony Rezko?

“Why was Tony Rezko’s sentencing delayed?”…Citizen Wells

Tony Rezko is mentioned throughout the William Cellini indictment.

Where is Tony Rezko?

From the Chicago Tribune October 12, 2011.

“Insider turned star witness tells of deals made with Cellini”

“Stuart Levine, a flawed political insider whose cooperation helped take down the Blagojevich administration, returned to the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Wednesday to tell of more backroom criminal deals.

Levine is the star witness againstSpringfield power broker William Cellini, on trial on charges of plotting to squeeze a campaign contribution from a Hollywood producer whose investment firm had substantial business with the state of Illinois.

Levine last testified in 2008 against Antoin “Tony” Rezko, a top adviser to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich who was convicted of using his political clout to orchestrate a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme.

On Wednesday, Levine, 65, who once made millions of dollars, strode into the courtroom and explained how the scandal cost him his home and livelihood. He said he now sells electronic cigarettes at a shopping mall.

He also told the jury of his extensive drug abuse — including crystal meth and ketamine binges — that started in the early 1970s and went on for decades.

Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner, Levine gave mostly monotone “yes” or “no” answers about malfeasance at the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, where he sat on the board of trustees.

At one point on the stand, Levine became flustered when his cellphone rang and he struggled tosilence it. Unable to turn the phone off entirely, Levine finally handed it over to Niewoehner.

Still, Levine’s answers were clear on Cellini’s deep influence at TRS and how they used that to broker an illegal deal with Rezko and Christopher Kelly, another top Blagojevich adviser.

Levine told the jury that Cellini, a close ally, had come to him with concerns about the leadership at TRS and whether enough money was being invested in real estate. Cellini, a longtime lobbyist and fundraiser, owned Commonwealth Realty Advisors, a real estate investment company that was making millions of dollars from TRS investments .

Protecting that kind of power is central to the charges against Cellini, prosecutors have alleged.

Levine said he and Cellini worked to engineer a series of moves to ensure they continued to control a voting block on TRS. Among the moves was putting a friend of Cellini’s on the board, Levine said.

At one point Levine was asked if he was generally willing to do what Cellini wanted when it came to TRS. “Yes,” he responded. And when asked how much influence Cellini had at TRS, Levine quickly replied, “Considerable.””

“The two agreed that Cellini would use his relationship with Rezko and Kelly to convince them to block the pension plan, Levine said. In return, Cellini would promise that he and Levine would use their influence at TRS to steer contracts to companies based on political contributions to Blagojevich, Levine said.

Cellini later told Levine that Rezko and Kelly agreed to go to Blagojevich to try and kill the consolidation.

Levine is expected to be on the stand the rest of the week.”

 Read more:


William Cellini trial, Status hearing, September 28, 2011, Judge James B. Zagel

William Cellini trial, Status hearing, September 28, 2011, Judge James B. Zagel

A status hearing for the William Cellini trial is scheduled for today, Wednesday, September 28, 2011, in the court of Judge James B. Zagel.

Daily Calendar

Wednesday, September 28, 2011  (As of 09/28/11 at 06:46:38 AM 
Honorable James B. Zagel                    Courtroom 2503 (JBZ)         

1:08-cr-00888   USA v. Cellini                         12:00   Status Hearing             


Blagojevich sentencing delayed, Judge James Zagel, William Cellini trial, Postponed until a further order of the court

Blagojevich sentencing delayed, Judge James Zagel, William Cellini trial, Postponed until a further order of the court

From the Chicago Tribune September 26, 2011.

“Federal judge delays Blagojevich sentencing”
“Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s sentencing next month on his sweeping corruption charges has been postponed, according to a court order Monday.

No new date has been set.

The Oct. 6 date has always been tentative, and the postponement is not surprising largely because  Blagojevich’s co-defendant, William Cellini, is scheduled to go on trial next Monday in the same courtroom.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel, who will preside over both Blagojevich’s sentencing and Cellini’s trial, said in a written order on Monday that the former governor’s sentencing has been postponed “until a further order of the court.””


October 3, 2011, William Cellini trial, Tony Rezko status hearing, Blagojevich sentencing, Will Rezko testify?

October 3, 2011, William Cellini trial, Tony Rezko status hearing, Blagojevich sentencing, Will Rezko testify?

The William Cellini trial begins October 3, 2011. There is also a Tony Rezko status hearing scheduled for October 3, 2011. Apparently the Blagojevich sentencing hearing will begin soon as well. Will Tony Rezko be a witness in the Cellini trial? Historical trends say no.

“Honorable Amy J. St. Eve                    Courtroom 1241 (ASE)         

1:05-cr-00691   USA v. Rezko                           08:45   Status Hearing             

Honorable James B. Zagel                    Courtroom 2503 (JBZ)         

1:08-cr-00888   USA v. Cellini                         10:30   Jury Trial”  


William Cellini trial, Cellini played Democrats and Republicans, Operation Board Games, Rezko Levine Obama Blagojevich

William Cellini trial, Cellini played Democrats and Republicans, Operation Board Games, Rezko Levine Obama Blagojevich

From the Chicago Tribune September 9, 2011.

“Democrat, Republican — Cellini can play them all”
“Illinois Republicans are often easy to forget, what with the Democrats holding all the key offices, from City Hall West (121 N. LaSalle St.) to City Hall East (1600 Pennsylvania Ave.).

Political historians would tell you that all that power didn’t come from magic spells. It came from big-city Democratic Party patronage armies.

Historians might also tell you that armies travel best on roads.

And in Illinois, for decade upon decade upon decade, all the roads have led to Bill Cellini, the low-key multimillionaire boss hog Republican. Chieftain of the road builders, Cellini was at the heart of the bipartisan Illinois Combine.

Cellini made his fortune through his political connections, working with Republican governors on questionable inside deals from gambling casinos to real estate, all of it from his power base in Springfield. But it’s what he allegedly did with Democrat and convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that finally landed Cellini in a federal indictment.

On Oct. 3, Cellini will stand trial in federal court in Chicago. If you’re there you’ll see a little guy in his late 70s in a dark suit, unassuming, a thin man wearing a Julius Caesar-style haircut.

And if you’re interested in how Illinois politics works — not the speeches of the puppets and the gamesmanship of their media lickspittles, but the real politics of hard leverage for big money — then you’ll pay attention.”

“”I’ve fought him my entire career,” Sen. Fitzgerald once told me about Cellini. “And for near 40 years, Cellini has been calling the shots from behind the scenes in Springfield. He’s gotten very rich off the taxpayers. Very rich.”

But Cellini stayed to pull the strings. And the Illinois Republican Party ran Pete Fitzgerald out of politics. So don’t tell me there’s not a Combine. The Cellini trial, one of the last chapters of the federal government’s Operation Board Games investigation, will lay out how the Combine works.

Powerful Illinois Republicans team up with powerful Illinois Democrats, and some earthy characters are thrown in. One is convicted political fixer Tony Rezko, fundraiser and real estate fairy to President Barack Obama, and fundraiser to Blagojevich as well.”

“He flew under that radar year after year, without getting much publicity. Fools like Blagojevich preen and demand media attention. Guys like Cellini prefer to count their coin in the shadows.”

“Think of a spider in the middle of a web, and all those silky strands bring him information on what’s coming for dinner.

A spider with hair combed forward over the forehead.

I can’t wait for October.”

Read more:


William Cellini trial, Prosecutors outline case against power broker Cellini, Blagojevich Rezko Levine

william Cellini trial, Prosecutors outline case against power broker Cellini, Blagojevich Rezko Levine

From the Chicago Tribune September 7, 2011.

“Prosecutors outline case against power broker Cellini
Longtime Springfield insider faces corruption, bribery charges”

“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.

In the filing, the government alleges that Cellini, who was a presence in Illinois politics for four decades, discussed his longevity in a February 2004 meeting on an upcoming allocation of $4.8 billion in pension board money.

Cellini recounted to the group — which included Stuart Levine, who was also charged with public corruption — about a meeting he had just had with Rezko and Kelly.

“Upon arriving, defendant said he had just come from a meeting with Rezko and Kelly, and he was upset with them,” the document reads. “He told Rezko and Kelly that they were moving too fast and were going to get themselves in trouble. Defendant said he told Rezko and Kelly that they should take defendant as an example: He had been doing this for 30 years and had always stayed above the fray.”

The filing also details a call in May 2004 between Cellini and Levine. During the recorded call, Cellini allegedly discusses the potential for an investigation and how he allegedly told Rezko and Kelly to have a cover story ready about their relationship with him.”

“The trial is set to begin on Oct. 3.”

Read more: