Prosecutors called their key witness against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and two top advisers "one of the most valuable cooperators" in three decades of public-corruption prosecutions in a late-Friday filing arguing for a light sentence.
Stuart Levine could have faced life in prison under federal sentencing guidelines but prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of 5 years and 7 months in exchange for Levine's cooperation. Friday's filing comes after U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve, during a hearing in April, asked for a "lengthy recitation of Levine's cooperation."
Levine didn't testify against Blagojevich, but prosecutors noted "the case against Blagojevich was made possible only by Levine's cooperation."
"The government not only used information provided initially by Levine in the case against Blagojevich, it was Levine's decision to cooperate that set in motion the series of events that led directly to the government obtaining the evidence and witnesses it needed to prosecute Blagojevich," prosecutors wrote.
Friday's filing, in advance of Levine's June 28 sentencing, recognizes both Levine's cooperation and his extensive criminal history.
Levine testified against former Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who is now in federal prison, and was the star witness against Springfield power broker, William Cellini, who is awaiting sentencing. During his testimony at Cellini's trial, Levine described in detail the million-dollar bribes he tried to orchestrate and told of his extensive drug use and cocaine parties he attended.
"Levine's cooperation has proven to be every bit as important as the government hoped it would be. As a result of (his) assistance, the government charged and convicted people of extremely serious crimes who otherwise would not have been caught."
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