A relatively short prison sentence seems to be bringing some relief to Stuart Levine, one of the central figures in the Blagojevich scandal.
After being sentenced yesterday, Stuart Levine smiled and shook hands and joked with many of the prosecutors and FBI agents who investigated him and brought him down.
And what a downfall it's been.
Levine went from being a multi-millionaire to working at a kiosk in a mall.
Levine and Tony Rezko, fundraiser and advisor for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, devised schemes in which they could use Blagojevich's power to make money for themselves and the governor. Levine was one of the first people arrested in the Blagojevich scandal, and he began cooperating after his arrest. He gave prosecutors details on how he and other insiders used state boards to award business contracts to people willing to pay bribes.
Prosecutor Chris Neiwoehner told Judge Amy St. Eve that the prosecution of Blagojevich would not have happened without Levine. He said Levine's cooperation was more valuable than anyone else in the federal court in Chicago in the last 30 years.
Niewoehner pushed for a short sentence, saying there will come a day when the FBI will approach another Stuart Levine and they'll want that person to know that they should cooperate because they can get a good deal.
Judge St. Eve -- despite noting that Levine was also one of the most corrupt people to appear in court in three decades -- she sentenced him to a relatively lenient five and a half years.