Blagojevich Insider, Key Witness, to be Sentenced

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CHICAGO (AP) -- The sentencing hearing is under way for a man who pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering in a corruption case linked to imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Stuart Levine (luh-VYN') pleaded guilty in 2006 to his part in a scheme with Blagojevich crony Tony Rezko to solicit kickbacks.

Acting U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro was among the spectators when a federal judge in Chicago convened Levine's sentencing hearing Thursday.

The millionaire-turned-shopping mall salesman testified for prosecutors during the corruption trials of Rezko and longtime powerbroker William Cellini.

Levine entered his guilty plea in hopes of getting a 5 1/2-year prison term. He theoretically faces a maximum life sentence.

During the trials of Rezko and Cellini, Levine admitted he used narcotics for decades. He also described cheating a deceased friend's estate out of $2 million.

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