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Cellini Sentencing Hearing Delayed Again

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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) – A federal judge agreed to delay the sentencing of a onetime Springfield powerbroker with ties to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for a second time Wednesday because of health issues.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel rescheduled William Cellini’s sentencing for Oct. 4 after lawyers said he was too sick to travel to Chicago.

Jurors convicted Cellini last year of conspiring to squeeze Hollywood executive Thomas Rosenberg for a $1.5 million donation to Blagojevich’s campaign. Prosecutors say Cellini and his cohorts planned to use their influence on an Illinois board and threatened to yank $220 million in state pension money from Rosenberg’s investment company unless he paid up.

Cellini was convicted of conspiracy to commit extortion and aiding and abetting the solicitation of a bribe, which carry a combined maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

His sentencing was delayed once before last month after the 77-year-old reportedly suffered a heart attack. He was treated more recently for a blood clot.

Prosecutors have said Cellini deserves to go to prison for up to eight years for conspiring to extort the Oscar-winning producer of “Million Dollar Baby.” They have argued that prison doctors would be able to adequately treat Cellini, and that failing to imprison the businessman — whose estimated net worth was $153 million in 2005 — could send the message “that different rules apply to the wealthy and powerful.”

But they’ve also conceded his health problems could justify a lesser sentence as long as he is given a “meaningful sentence of incarceration.”

Cellini’s attorneys are believed to favor probation.

Zagel is the same judge who handed Blagojevich a stiff 14-year sentence for corruption that included seeking to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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