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During Rezko’s nine-week trial, prosecutors said he raised over $1 million for Blagojevich and got so much clout in return he could control two powerful state boards. They accused him of plotting with admitted political fixer Stuart Levine to squeeze payoffs from money management firms that sought to invest the assets of the $40 billion state Teachers Retirement System and said he plotted with Levine to get a $1.5 million bribe from a contractor who sought state approval to build a hospital.

Levine pleaded guilty and became the government’s star witness at the Rezko and Cellini trials. Rezko’s lawyers complained that, in exchange for Levine’s cooperation, prosecutors had recommended a prison term of just 5½ years. But prosecutors say Levine’s cooperation with the government started sooner, lasted longer and reaped more dramatic results.

Rezko has spent much of his time in jail in solitary, rarely getting fresh air and subject to a diet that has resulted in him losing 80 pounds, according to a recent defense filing.

“Just looking at you, physically, is evidence of the great fall that you have had,” St. Eve said.

Associated Press writer Karen Hawkins contributed to this report.