U.S. District Judge James Zagel on Monday approved a bid from William Cellini to be tried separate from ex-governor Rod Blagojevich. The government and Cellini's lawyers agreed last week that the two should be tried separately because there wasn't enough overlap between the two cases.
Meanwhile, the former governor's brother, Rob, will also ask to be tried separately, his lawyer, Michael Ettinger, said today.
Here's a statement from Cellini's lawyer, Dan Webb:
"Today's ruling by Judge Zagel granting the Government's motion to hold a separate trial for my client from former Governor Blagojevich demonstrates what we have said all along - that there was never any justification for including Bill Cellini in any indictment with former Governor Blagojevich. "The allegations against former Governor Blagojevich have absolutely nothing to do with Bill Cellini. Months ago, Mr. Cellini executed an affidavit stating that he does not now nor has he ever had a relationship with former Governor Blagojevich. Mr. Cellini has never spoken on the telephone with former Governor Blagojevich nor has he ever had a substantive or private conversation with former Governor Blagojevich on any topic, including fund raising. Moreover, Mr. Cellini is a lifelong Republican who supported both Jim Ryan and Judy Barr-Topinka in their campaigns against Rod Blagojevich.
"Bill Cellini was never aware of, nor involved with anyone in the Blagojevich group in the alleged fund-raising scheme. Bill is completely innocent of these charges and will continue to vigorously fight these charges as he has done since the day he was indicted. Bill is confident that a jury will find him not guilty."