Saturday, July 14, 2012

A virtual life-sentence for Cellini?

It will be a miracle, of sorts, if William Cellini doesn’t wind up getting a prison sentence that keeps him incarcerated for the rest of his life.
CELLINI: Soon to learn his fate

Cellini is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge James Zagel for sentencing on July 23, and federal prosecutors this week issued the memorandum where they explain why they believe the judge should impose an eight-year sentence.

OR 96 MONTHS in federal-speak, since “the G” always seems to like to make things sound much more ominous than they really are when it comes to criminal prosecution.

The various reports that cropped up following the issuing of the sentencing memorandum all indicate that prosecutors are showing some sense of what they think is compassion.

They’re conceding that Cellini has health issues and that this might be a “relatively rare situation” where Zagel should impose a prison sentence less than the one they have requested/are demanding!

But when one considers that Cellini is 76 years old, has had a heart attack recently and then also has had a blood clot found in his system, you have to seriously wonder if the one-time political powerbroker from Springfield whose clout always came from his ability to get government officials to do his bidding – rather than in holding electoral office himself – is capable of doing any amount of prison time.

I’M NOT WISHING Cellini ill-will. But this could be a case where a one-year prison term could amount to a “life” prison term.

Somehow, that makes the federal prosecution concession that maybe he should get a lesser prison term seem less compassionate.

Because in their memo, they made it clear that they want Bill Cellini to go to prison. What they do NOT want is anything resembling what his attorneys will ask for, and will probably beg for, come the day nine days from now when he has to stand before “da judge.”
BLAGOJEVICH: The benefactor?

Which is probation. They’d like him to get hit with a significant fine, and some thoroughly-humiliating process by which his life will be watched by federal officials.

ISN’T THAT PUNISHMENT enough, for a man of his age?

In my mind, I can already hear all the people shouting out, “Hell No!!!,” or using other choice obscenities to indicate their displeasure – in large part because Cellini is a wealthy man.

Federal officials included in their memo an estimate that back in 2005, he was worth $153 million (which means that being the anonymous guy who tells governors what they should do can be a lucrative field).

After enduring his legal bills to try to fight off (unsuccessfully, it should be noted) a conviction, I don’t know what he’s worth now. It could be significantly less – even though I doubt he’s so broke that he’d be applying for unemployment benefits anytime soon.

WHICH MEANS SOME people will argue he has too much money and could “buy” himself a comfortable stay in probation or supervision.

Besides, when it comes to age, let’s remember that former Gov. George Ryan is a couple of years older than Cellini and still has nearly one full year to serve within the Bureau of Prisons system.
RYAN: Soon to be free?

Although Cellini, if he survives a prison term, would likely be older than the 79 years Ryan will have when he is set free on Independence Day (literally) of 2013.

I’m just going to be a little wary of those people who come off as too eager for incarceration in this case – in which Cellini tried getting a Hollywood producer to make a significant campaign contribution to now-incarcerated former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

HE DIDN’T ASK anything for himself. Then again, he didn’t have to. Because just think of all the favors Blagojevich would have owed him in exchange for arranging the contribution.

Which is how Cellini gained his influence. He was the guy who helped campaigns of both the Democratic and Republican persuasion come up with the money to pay for all the stunts they had to engage in to gain public attention and get elected.

Many of them likely would not have been elected in the first place had it not been for the help of Cellini and others like him; many of whom are still in existence in the unincarcerated segment of our society.

And because of his age, he has a chance to wither away in relative anonymity – being turned into a mere number instead of a name.


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