By AP

Ex-powerbroker gives up bid to remain free

CHICAGO – A former Illinois powerbroker has withdrawn his request to remain free pending appeal of his corruption conviction and will start serving a year-long sentence Jan. 4.

William Cellini's one-page filing cites "the stress" the case has put on his family and the 78-year-old's poor health.

Defense attorney Thomas Kirsch II told The Associated Press Cellini is considering forgoing any appeal – even though he believes he would prevail.

Kirsch said the appeals process would take longer than Cellini's one-year sentence. And he says Cellini and his family now want to put the legal saga behind them as quickly as possible.

Jurors convicted Cellini last year for trying to extort a movie producer for a $1.5 million contribution for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign.

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