William Cellini lawyers request new trial, Juror with felony convictions lied under oath, 21 page motion, Cellini attorney Dan Webb

William Cellini lawyers request new trial, Juror with felony convictions lied under oath, 21 page motion, Cellini attorney Dan Webb

From the Chicago tribune November 14, 2011.

“Lawyers for Bill Cellini ask for new trial because of juror”

“Lawyers for convicted Springfield power broker William Cellini filed for a new trial Monday based on information first revealed by the Tribune that a juror apparently concealed two felony convictions from court officials during jury selection.

The 21-page motion argued that the juror — whose name was blacked out — deliberately lied under oath on separate questionnaires and again under questioning in court by failing to disclose convictions for crack-cocaine possession in 2000 and aggravated driving under the influence in 2008, both felonies.

The motion points out that the government’s key witness, political insider Stuart Levine, admitted on the witness stand to three decades of abusing cocaine and other drugs, which the defense used to attack the government’s case.

“(The juror’s) criminal history and drug conviction, in particular, would have been critical information if revealed during the selection process, given that a key component of the testimony and credibility of Stuart Levine concerned his own criminal history and his years of drug abuse and distribution,” the defense filing said.

The filing also cited the words of federal prosecutors in former Gov. George Ryan’s trial when, under similar circumstances, they argued to remove two jurors during deliberations in 2006 after the Tribune reported they had apparently concealed their arrest records.

“From the moment this issue surfaced (in the Ryan trial) … the government took the position that the jurors’ dishonesty demonstrated bias and warranted removal,” Monday’s motion said.

The defense also argued that the juror violated her probation in the drug case and failed to pay the $1,395 fine levied in her DUI conviction, disqualifying her from serving on a federal jury because her civil rights had not been restored.

Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined to comment Monday night on the filing.

Some experts have told the Tribune that undoing a jury verdict would be no easy task, even if the judge determines that the juror was untruthful.”

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