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Cellini Won’t Testify In Own Defense

Springfield businessman William Cellini has been nicknamed both "The King of Clout" and "The Pope" for his significant influence in Illinois politics. (AP File Photo)

Springfield businessman William Cellini has been nicknamed both “The King of Clout” and “The Pope” for his significant influence in Illinois politics. (AP File Photo)

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CHICAGO (AP) – Millionaire businessman William Cellini has decided not to take the stand during his Chicago corruption trial.

Defense attorney Dan Webb told the judge about Cellini’s decision Friday, the day the defense opened its case.

Webb didn’t say why Cellini decided against testifying. He’d said earlier in the day that Cellini would make a final decision after seeing how others testifying on his behalf were doing.

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Cellini, 76, has denied conspiring to shake down the Oscar-winning producer of “Million Dollar Baby” for a $1.5 million campaign contribution to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

If Thomas Rosenberg refused, prosecutors say Cellini and other schemers intended to threaten to withhold $220 million in state pension funds from his investment company.

The judge sent jurors home Friday after the Springfield Republican’s attorneys called four witnesses as part of their defense.

Webb spoke to reporters after Judge James Zagel adjourned. He says Zagel gave jurors Monday off and that they’ll return Tuesday for closing arguments.

Webb says the defense will call a last witness to testify briefly just before closings on Tuesday. They’ll then rest their case.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)