As 50th birthdays go, Sean Cerami's was pretty sweet.
Friday's milestone was accompanied by Cook County prosecutors' announcement they were dropping drug charges against him, charges for which he served more than a year in prison.
"I'm glad it's over," said Cerami, who was released from custody several weeks ago.
The prosecutors' announcement followed Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon's ruling last month to vacate Cerami's 2012 guilty plea after defense attorney Victor Ciardelli questioned the credibility of former Schaumburg undercover officer Matthew Hudak.
DuPage County authorities in January arrested Hudak and fellow former undercover officers John Cichy and Terrance O'Brien on multiple charges, including criminal drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance, armed violence and official misconduct. The three men, who have pleaded not guilty, have since resigned and are out on bond.
Ciardelli said Hudak -- who said a confidential informant provided a description of Cerami -- made false statements to obtain the search warrant that led to the arrest of Cerami, who admitted having previous contact with police. Court records show Cerami pleaded guilty in 2009 to drug charges in exchange for a four-year prison sentence.
Rejecting the claim that Hudak got Cerami's description from an informant, Ciardelli insisted it came from his client's driver's license, which showed a photograph of a heavier Cerami. An informant would have given a more accurate description, Ciardelli said.
"There's nothing worse than a police officer not telling the truth," Ciardelli said.
Cerami said police pulled him over while he was driving, then followed him to the home he shared with several others. The subsequent search reportedly turned up cocaine.
Cerami's attorney at the time filed a motion asking the police to produce the confidential informant, Ciardelli said. They refused. After a judge denied the former attorney's motion, Cerami pleaded guilty and received a four-year prison sentence. He had served about 15 months and was in a halfway house when the judge vacated his plea last month. He is now working and attempting to get on with his life.
"I'm just happy this is over," Cerami said.