Blago co-defendant seeks separate trial

April 3, 2009 at 5:33 PM

CHICAGO, April 3 (UPI) -- A Springfield, Ill., businessman accused alongside former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is pushing to have his case tried separately, the businessman's lawyer said.

Lawyer Dan Webb said William Cellini, who was indicted in a Chicago federal court Thursday alongside Blagojevich and four of the former official's associates, said his client is innocent of charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion, The (Springfield, Ill.) State Journal-Register reported Friday.

Webb said he is pushing to have Cellini's case tried separately from Blagojevich.

"There is no justification whatsoever for including Bill Cellini in the indictment," Webb said. "The varied allegations against former Governor Blagojevich have nothing to do with Bill."

"We remain confident that a jury will find him not guilty," the lawyer said, "as he is completely innocent of these charges."

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