Cellini jurors getting an inside look at stealing from the state

October 12, 2011

Robert Wildeboer and AP Wires

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(AP/M. Spencer Green)

Jurors hearing the case against the final Blagojevich co-defendant William Cellini are getting a first-hand account of how political insiders stole money from the state of Illinois under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

They're getting the inside account from Steven Loren, an attorney who did work for the the Teachers Retirement System in 2003.

On Tuesday he told jurors how he drafted fake contracts to disguise illegal kickbacks as legitimate fees. He did the work for Stuart Levine, a corrupt board member of the teacher's retirement system.

Prosecutors say Cellini later joined Levine in a similar conspiracy to allegedly hold back a $200 million state contract until the contractor gave a campaign contribution to Blagojevich.

Levine has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors and is expected to testify. 

Defense attorneys have already told jurors that they shouldn't convict Cellini based on anything Levine says because Levine's a career criminal and he's lied under oath.

Meanwhile, a former campaign finance director for Rod Blagojevich is scheduled to take the stand today.

Kelly Glynn is expected to testify Wednesday that Springfield Republican William Cellini hosted a campaign fundraiser in 2002 for Blagojevich that aimed to raise $300,000 for the Democrat.

On Tuesday, Judge James Zagel rejected defense arguments that much of Glynn's testimony would be hearsay.