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Cellini Reports to Terre Haute Prison

A Springfield businessman once referred to as the "King of Clout" is behind bars.

The Bureau of Prisons confirms William Cellini reported to an Indiana prison Tuesday afternoon.

Cellini surrendered to the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute, approximately 150 miles from the Capital City.

During his sentencing hearing in October, Cellini characterized his conviction as a "devastating end" to a political career that spanned four decades.
   
He starts a 366-day sentence behind bars, after a jury convicted him of corruption.
   
The two charges stem from a plot to pressure a producer to contribute $1.5 million to former governor Rod Blagojevich's campaign.

"He was a guy who played at a very level at this game and very successfully for many years," UIS political studies professor Chris Mooney said. "What this shows me mostly is not so much about Cellini but about Rod Blagojevich. This was a guy that was just poison and sort of like tar baby, everybody who touched him got stuck."
   
As for what Cellini can expect at FCC Terre Haute, local criminal defense lawyer Jon Gray Noll has an idea. He's visited clients in prisons all over the country.

"Brick buildings, two story, three stories," Noll said. "Centrally located with a common eating area, common physical fitness facilities, those types of things."
   
As a minimum-security inmate, Cellini will have a little more freedom in how he spends his time.
   
It's likely he won't have to serve his entire sentence. That's because he's eligible for "good time credit." As long as he doesn't break the rules in prison, he'll get time shaved off his sentence for good behavior. With that, he'd only have to serve a little more than 10 months.
   
"I think it hopefully sends a message that even the real smart guys can get caught up," Mooney said.

Once he's released, Cellini will be required to undergo two years of supervision.

ABC Newschannel 20's Katie Heinz talked with a friend of Cellini's. Jim Fulgenzi, Sr. said that under the circumstances, Cellini is doing "fine." He added that Cellini is making the most of the situation.

Cellini will serve his time in the minimum security satellite prison camp at FCC Terre Haute. The facility houses male inmates. Cellini suffers from heart disease and asked for a facility where he could receive adequate medical care.

It's the same prison where former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is serving a sentence for corruption.