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Ill. powerbroker convicted in shakedown trial

Jurors convict Illinois powerbroker of conspiring to shake down Hollywood producer By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) ' Jurors have convicted an Illinois powerbroker of conspiring to shake down the Oscar-winning producer of "Million Dollar Baby" for campaign cash.

William Cellini was the last person scheduled to go on trial as part of the federal investigation of impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Jurors convicted him Tuesday of conspiring to commit extortion and soliciting a bribe.

Prosecutors alleged the well-connected millionaire and three other political insiders plotted in 2004 to extort a $1.5 million campaign donation from Cellini's longtime friend, Hollywood executive Thomas Rosenberg. Prosecutors say the scheme involved threatening to withhold $220 million in state pension funds from Rosenberg's investment company unless he made the donation to Blagojevich's campaign.

Defense attorneys said the 76-year-old Cellini was unwittingly caught in the plot.

He faces a maximum of 30 years.

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Related Keywords:Illinois Corruption-Powerbroker,Legal proceedings,Law and order,General news,Campaigns,Elections,Government and politics,Political fundraising

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