Stuart Levine takes the stand in Cellini trial

October 13, 2011

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(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)
Stuart Levine leaving federal court in October of 2006

Prosecutors are linking a career criminal with Bill Cellini, the final Blagojevich co-defendant to stand trial. They've called their star witness, Stuart Levine, to the stand. Just a few minutes into his testimony Wednesday afternoon Levine started down a laundry list of his criminal activity.

He told jurors that he spent decades paying bribes to public officials to get government contracts for businesses that he had an interest in. He also admitted abusing drugs for 30 years.

Levine has admitted his guilt in various schemes to defraud the state of Illinois and he's now cooperating with federal prosecutors and testifying against Bill Cellini. Previously he testified for three weeks in the trial of Blagojevich fundraiser and advisor Tony Rezko.

Levine told jurors he's done business with Cellini for decades, paying Cellini more than a million in fees. He said the two were also personal friends.  Prosecutors say the relationship eventually turned criminal. They say Cellini tried to extort campaign contributions on behalf of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in an attempt to keep his own business with the state.

Defense attorneys will no doubt plumb the depths of Levine's criminal life and tell jurors they shouldn't trust a word he says.