William Cellini may testify, Cellini attorney Dan Webb informed Judge James Zagel, Stuart Levine not reliable, Where is Tony Rezko?

William Cellini may testify, Cellini attorney Dan Webb informed Judge James Zagel, Stuart Levine not reliable, Where is Tony Rezko?

“Rezko has also stated in interviews with the government that he believed he transmitted a quid pro quo offer from a lobbyist to the public official, whereby the lobbyist would hold a fundraiser for the official in exchange for favorable official action”

“The defense has a good faith belief that this public official is Barack Obama.”…Blagojevich defense subpoena of Barack Obama

“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

From the Chicago Tribune October 21, 2011.

“Cellini weighing whether to testify in own defense”

“Lawyers for William Cellini told the judge presiding over his federal trial today that the Springfield power broker wants to testify on his own behalf, but no decision has been made about whether he will indeed take the witness stand.
Cellini’s attorney, Dan Webb, told U.S. District Judge James Zagel outside the presence of the jury that the defense team is waiting until the end of Friday to decide whether Cellini will take the stand.

“It’s a major issue for my client to decide,” Webb said. “Right now my client wants to see how this goes.”

In the meantime, Webb is planning to call witnesses to testify about Cellini’s business dealings with the state teacher pension board.

While testimony today has yet to start, Webb, a former U.S. attorney and veteran criminal-defense lawyer, is arguing to Zagel that some counts against Cellini should be thrown out, calling the government’s star witness the least reliable he’s ever seen.

“He is the single-most non credible witness I have seen in a courtroom,” Webb said outside the presence of the jury.

Webb’s remarks were targeted at Stuart Levine, who prosecutors say conspired with Cellini on the extortion.

Levine has a long history of financial scams and kickbacks schemes as well as three decades of heavy drug abuse.

Cellini’s relationship with that board forms the background of the charges against him.

Prosecutors have charged that Cellini agreed in 2004 to help extort a campaign contribution for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich from a Hollywood producer whose investment firm had major business with the state teacher pension board.

Cellini, 76, agreed to the plot, the government asserts, to protect his influence and access to the teacher pension board.

Cellini is accused of conspiring with Leveine, another longtime political insider, as well as two top advisers to then Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Antoin “Tony” Rezko and Christopher Kelly, to hold up an investment deal by Hollywood producer and money manager Thomas Rosenberg with the Teachers Retirement System until Rosenberg came up with a $1.5 million contribution to Blagojevich.

On Thursday, Rosenberg concluded his testimony, describing how he turned to old friend Cellini when Rosenberg’s deal suddenly stalled in Springfield seven years ago. Cellini, whom Rosenberg had known for years and who also did a lot of business at the pension board, could figure out what was happening, Rosenberg figured.

But Cellini’s answer left Rosenberg furious, he testified at Cellini’s federal trial.

Rezko and Kelly had put a brick on the pension deal, and the only way to get it moving again was to make a contribution to Blagojevich, he said he learned from Cellini.

“I screamed and cursed,” Rosenberg responded in a low, even voice when asked how he reacted to the news. “I wanted him to pass on the full level of my fury.”

Cellini is alleged to have agreed to assist in the plot to protect his influence at the Teachers Retirement System, or TRS, where his own investment company had also made millions of dollars.

Rosenberg, 64, who was born in Chicago but relocated to California to produce movies, was relaxed and confident on the witness stand Thursday. At times, he drew smiles or laughs from jurors and spectators during a cross-examination by Cellini’s attorney, Terence Gillespie.

Under questioning by prosecutors, Rosenberg said that Cellini made it clear to him in May 2004 that he needed to contribute to Blagojevich or that the TRS deal with his company, Capri Capital, would not be approved.

Cellini told Rosenberg that Rezko and Kelly were aware of how much money Capri had already managed for TRS and that they were angry that “we had done virtually nothing for Blagojevich,” Rosenberg testified.

Capri’s $220-million deal had already been stalled, Rosenberg explained to jurors.

“I didn’t look at it as a threat,” Rosenberg said of Cellini’s remarks to him. “I looked at it as a fait accompli.”

Rosenberg didn’t blink, instead telling Cellini to relay to Rezko and Kelly that he would sooner go to Blagojevich about their strong-arm tactics than make a campaign contribution, he testified.

He also warned Cellini that Rezko and Kelly were going to get them in trouble with law enforcement.

“If there is not a grand jury already investigating these two, there will be,” Rosenberg said he told Cellini. “These two were so outrageous, so crazy, so wild, so brazen it was just a matter of time.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner then asked Rosenberg how Cellini reacted to his ire.

“He was nervous,” Rosenberg quickly responded over the objection of Cellini’s attorney but then was allowed to continue. “I interpreted his voice as nervous.”

Cellini then told him that he “had to deal with these guys” because he was a lobbyist, Rosenberg said.”

Read more:


Where is Tony Rezko?

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