(See Webb's statement below)
BY NATASHA KORECKI, MAUDLYNE IHEJIRIKA AND MARK KONKOL
A federal jury found William Cellini, a Springfield power broker who for decades pulled the strings in state government, guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting bribery.
Cellini was found not guilty of two other counts against him, attempted extortion and mail and wire fraud.
Cellini's daughter, Claudia, doubled over and put her head to her knees when she heard the first guilty verdict read. Cellini, 76, himself showed no reaction when the verdict was read. His wife, Julie, remained equally poker-faced.
Cellini faces a maximum of 30 years in prison for those two convictions.
Outside the courtroom, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said what Cellini did was not simply lobbying.
"What allows people to tell people, 'You can't do business with the state of Illinois unless you pay up, either in the form of a campaign contribution or a bribe'? That's extortion and there's no 'gray area' about that. ... Shaking someone down and threatening them with lost business is a crime."
Read the rest of today's article: Click here
Here's Dan Webb's full statement: STATEMENT OF DAN K. WEBB, ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM CELLINI
We are very gratified that the jury found Mr. Cellini not guilty of the most serious charges in the indictment. Mr. Cellini was found not guilty of the major conspiracy Count, Count 1, in which the Government alleged a conspiracy to commit honest services crimes for 15 months. Further, the jury found Mr. Cellini not guilty of even attempting to extort money from Mr. Rosenberg, Count 3. Whatever the jury determined Mr. Cellini did to be guilty of a conspiracy to commit extortion, Count 2, that conduct did not even rise to the level of being an attempted extortion.
As far as the Counts on which Mr. Cellini was found guilty, we are confident we will be able to obtain a reversal on appeal.