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Juror Replaced In Cellini Trial Deliberations

Springfield businessman William Cellini arrives at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. (CBS File Photo)

Springfield businessman William Cellini arrives at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (AP) – A federal judge has replaced a juror at the shakedown trial of a clout-heavy Illinois businessman and told the new jury to start deliberations from scratch.

The order Thursday came just a day after the original 12 jurors withdrew to deliberate on whether William Cellini conspired to shake down the producer of “Million Dollar Baby.” So there’s little ground they must retrace and the action shouldn’t cause much delay.

Judge James Zagel told the courtroom Thursday morning that a conflict arose with one juror on Wednesday. But he didn’t offer any details, saying the reason is under seal.

The 76-year-old Cellini has denied the four counts against him, which include attempted extortion.

It’s likely to take jurors at least a couple days to sort through about three weeks of evidence.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)