Judge Again Denies Cellini a New Trial - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Judge Again Denies Cellini a New Trial

Judge James Zagel denied another motion in January



    A federal judge on Thursday refused to overturn the convictions of a long-time Illinois powerbroker in he last trial directly related to investigations of imprisoned Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    Springfield millionaire William Cellini appeared in court to hear Judge James Zagel deny his motion to throw out last year's verdicts and order a retrial.

    Zagel rejected defense claims that prosecutors improperly tried to exclude African-Americans as jurors. The judge says there's no evidence prosecutors tried to do that.

    Zagel denied another motion in January. Cellini's lead attorney asked Zagel at the time to toss the  convictions and try his client again after the Chicago Tribune reported a female juror failed to disclose two felony convictions.

    The judge called it an "innocent error."

    Jurors convicted Cellini last November of conspiring to shake down the Oscar-winning producer of "Million Dollar Baby" for a contribution to Blagojevich's campaign.

    Cellini faces a maximum 30-years prison term. His sentencing is expected to be later this year _ though Zagel hasn't yet fixed a date.