Blagojevich Insider, Key Witness, Gets 5 1/2 Years in Prison
Stuart Levine, the former political insider who masterminded illegal backroom deals before turning government informant to help take down the Blagojevich administration, was sentenced to about 5 ½ years today in prison.
Levine, 66, apologized before the sentence was handed down. “I wish to express my deep regret to the people of the state of Illinois,” he said.
He choked up when he thanked his children for their “continued love, which has sustained me.”
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve said she thought long and hard before agreeing to sentence Levine to the 67-month prison term called for under his plea agreement with prosecutors.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, he would have faced up to life in prison but his extraordinary cooperation led to the sharply reduced sentence.
St. Eve said she was persuaded that Levine was a different person from the witness who testified in 2008 at the trial of Blagojevich fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, saying his arrogance and egotism were evident then.
In addition to his testimony at the trials of Blagojevich advisor Antoin Rezko and Springfield power broker William Cellini, Levine played a critical role in helping the government unravel the corruption inside former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration, his attorney has said.