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Convicted ex-Ill. powerbroker reports to prison

Source : AP
Last Updated: Tue, Jan 22, 2013 20:15 hrs

A man once known as the King of Clout for the enormous behind-the-scene influence he yielded in Illinois politics reported to prison Tuesday to start a yearlong sentence for trying to extort a Hollywood movie producer.

William Cellini reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Ind., around 1 p.m. local time, said Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said. It's the same prison where former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is completing a 6 1/2 -year corruption sentence.

Cellini, 78, will stay in the minimum-security section of the facility.

Jurors convicted the multimillionaire Springfield businessman in 2011 of trying to shake down Thomas Rosenberg for a $1.5 million political contribution that was intended for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign. Rosenberg is the Oscar-winning producer of "Million Dollar Baby."

Cellini, a longtime Republican, joins an ignominious list of prominent Illinois residents imprisoned for corruption.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, is serving a 14-year sentence for multiple corruption counts in a Colorado prison. Ryan, Blagojevich's Republican predecessor, is wrapping up his sentence.

Cellini had asked to go to a prison in Montgomery, Ala., in part because it was thought to have good medical facilities to deal with his illnesses, including heart ailments. It wasn't immediately clear why Cellini was assigned to the prison in Indiana.

Cellini was initially supposed to report to prison on Jan. 4 but was granted a two-week extension.

Hoping to get his sentence over with, Cellini in November withdrew his request to remain free pending appeal of his corruption conviction. A one-page filing withdrawing the request cited the stress the case put on his family and Cellini's health.

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