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Cellini jury sent home early while lawyers discuss panel's first question

The federal jury weighing the fate of Springfield power broker William Cellini was sent home early today so lawyers could try to resolve one of the first written questions submitted by the panel on its initial day of deliberations.

Jurors asked that they be given every slide shown during the 3 ½-week trial. The slides are demonstrative exhibits that had not been admitted into evidence, raising an issue for the lawyers to decide in consultation with U.S. District Judge James Zagel.

The judge asked lawyers to reconvene in his courtroom at 8:45 a.m. Thursday to decide what to do.

The jury is scheduled to resume deliberations at an unspecified time on Thursday.

Prosecutors contend that Cellini, a longtime Republican fundraiser and lobbyist, took part in a plot to extort a $1.5 million contribution to then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign from a Hollywood producer who had a multimillion-dollar investment deal pending with the state of Illinois.

Cellini allegedly conspired with top Blagojevich advisers and a corrupt longtime political insider in the scheme.

Cellini, who is charged with fraud, extortion and abetting in the solicitation of a bribe, has denied any wrongdoing.

 

asweeney@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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