Skip to comments.Jury Finds Former Ill. Gov. Ryan Guilty
Posted on 04/17/2006 12:14:10 PM PDT by freepatriot32
CHICAGO - Former Gov. George Ryan, who drew international praise when he commuted the sentences of everyone on Illinois' death row, was convicted of racketeering and fraud Monday in a corruption scandal that ended his political career in 2003.
Ryan, 72, sat stone-faced as the verdict was read and afterward vowed to appeal.
"I believe this decision today is not in accordance with the kind of public service that I provided to the people of Illinois over 40 years, and needless to say I am disappointed in the outcome," the former governor said.
Ryan faces up to 20 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy charge alone, the most serious against him in the 22-count indictment. The jury found him guilty of all counts, including fraud, obstructing the Internal Revenue Service and lying to the FBI.
Co-defendant Larry Warner, a Chicago businessman and Ryan friend, was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, attempted extortion, illegally structuring bank withdrawals and money laundering.
Neither man took the stand during their six-month trial.
Prosecutors accused Ryan of steering big-money state contracts and leases, including a $25 million IBM computer deal, to his friends and political insiders while he was secretary of state in the 1990s and then as governor starting in 1999.
In return for that help, Ryan was rewarded with annual winter vacations in Jamaica, stays in Cancun and Palm Springs and gifts ranging from a golf bag to $145,000 in loans to his brother's business, prosecutors said.
Warner, 67, raked in $3 million from Ryan-era deals, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald _ who during the trial was also leading the federal investigation into the leak of CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity.
The case against Ryan and Warner was the state's biggest political corruption trial in decades, and it had it share of troubles.
In late March, months of testimony nearly went down the drain when the judge discovered two jurors had failed to mention past arrests on their court questionnaires. Rather than declare a mistrial, U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer decided to replace the two jurors with alternates and, over the objection of Ryan's attorneys, ordered the jury to start deliberations over.
The new jury had deliberated for 10 days when it announced its verdict Monday.
Afterward, Ryan attorney Dan K. Webb, a former federal prosecutor, zeroed in on the judge's decision to replace the jurors.
"We're going to begin working immediately on post-trial motions to try to get this verdict overturned," Webb said.
During the trial, Webb had pounded on a theme that no one ever testified to seeing Ryan take a payoff. His powerful law firm, Winston & Strawn, represented Ryan for free _ at an estimated cost of $10 million.
Ryan's sentencing was set for Aug. 4.
The corruption scandal that led to Ryan's downfall began over a decade ago with a much smaller focus: a federal investigation into a fiery van crash in Wisconsin that killed six children.
The deadly 1994 crash exposed a scheme inside the Illinois secretary of state's office in which unqualified truck drivers obtained licenses for bribes. Ryan was secretary of state at the time, and prosecutors would later argue that thousands of dollars in payoff money from the licenses went into a Ryan campaign fund.
The probe expanded over the next eight years into a wide-ranging corruption investigation that eventually reached Ryan in the governor's office.
Seventy-nine former state officials, lobbyists, truck drivers and others have been since charged. Before Ryan's trial, 74 had been convicted, including Ryan's longtime top aide, Scott Fawell.
Fawell was a star witness against Ryan and the author of a 1994 memo that prosecutor Patrick Collins called "the Magna Carta" of the racketeering scheme.
The memo urged Ryan, then-secretary of state, to replace inspector general Dean Bauer with someone who "won't ask about FR tickets" _ political fundraising tickets. Bauer himself pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and acknowledged the government could prove he had spent seven years covering up scandals to spare Ryan personal and political embarrassment.
Even as he faced federal charges back home, Ryan accepted speaking invitations across the country and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his criticism of the death penalty.
In 2000, the Republican governor declared a moratorium on executions in Illinois after 13 death row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted. Then, days before he left office in 2003, he cleared death row, commuting the sentences of all 167 inmates to life in prison. He declared that the state's criminal justice system was "haunted by the demon of error."
The auto accident that set the case in motion killed six children of the Rev. Scott and Janet Willis. A trucking company official later said he believed the truck driver's license was one of several bought from a state official.
The Willises, who received a $100 million settlement, attended parts of Ryan's trial.
At 72, if he can stretch out his appeal long enough he'll never have to serve a day.
This guy is a visionary.
He's too old for jail. Maybe he should find a nephew to shoot.
"won't ask about FR tickets"
We sell tickets here?
Must be a dem, since they didn't mention his affiliation.
Bwahahhhaa, I am just surprised REPUBLICAN is not in big bold letters.
You are technically right, but he won as a Republican and governed as a democrat.
(#SARCASM MODE ON)
How could this happen?!?! Ryan was such a good guy that he undid those evil, evil death sentences?!? Oh the contrast, oh the downfall!
(#SARCASM MODE OFF)
It's good to see that the Lame Stream Media isn't interested in inserting their opinion into the first few words of the story....
*****In 2000, the Republican governor declared a moratorium on executions in Illinois after 13 death row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted. Then, days before he left office in 2003, he cleared death row, commuting the sentences of all 167 inmates to life in prison. He declared that the state's criminal justice system was "haunted by the demon of error."*****
3 last line
No so in every case.
Edwin Edwards, the 4 term RAT Governor of Louisiana is currently serving time in a Fed Prison in Fort Worth.
Edwin Edwards, DemocRAT 4 term Governor from Louisiana was 73 when convicted, and was 75 when he went to prison, making it two years of appeals and such.
Anyone have the details?
Illegal immigrants buying legit licenses for false names (as in Tennessee)? Drivers who had their licenses revoked in Illinois (because there is no federal prohibition on getting a license in another state even if you can't drive in some state)? Drivers who failed the test?
Hopefully he's going to Federal "pound me in the a$$" prison.
Oh yes it is.
FR tickets = Fund Raising tickets.
The first half of the Sopranos last night, was the last half I will ever see again, and I have been watching it for a long time.
Yeah, like we don't do that here....
Career politician, stands for little = party suicide in Illinois.
Illinois, Cook County and Chicago, fertile soil for breeding criminals, perverts and politicians on the take.
Three current examples: Dick Daley, Turbin Durbin, Hildebeast.
"You are technically right, but he won as a Republican and governed as a democrat."
Bingo. Ryan snowed the Pubs in this state who voted for him, even though many had reservations about him, and then turned on the Pubs once in office. He was a Dem in disguise. And a total Party hack. Then he did away with the death sentence in this state, largely, I believe, to deflect attention from his own illegal activities (as he was starting to be investigated at the time he did away w/the death sentence). Another crooked Illinois governor. We have more than our fair share in this state. Jail seems like a real good place for Ryan to be shipped off to. Hack.
Did he serve in Vietnam too? He must not have, because they would have mentioned it otherwise.
I will pray for his good health since he is 72. I hope he lives long enough so he doesn't die before he goes to prison. He deserves whatever they give him for the pain and suffering he inflicted on the victims of all those animals he let off death row.
He just commuted their sentences; Illinois's death row population got life without parole. They didn't leave prison.
P.S. This is the death sentence (pardon the pun) for Judy Barr Topinka's run for Governor on the Republican Party ticket. Topinka was a crony of George Ryan, and they've got videos that were already used in the primary that she won, of her polka dancing w/Ryan. That visual will be used over and over by the Dems who will link her continuously with the "convicted felon" Ryan. Kiss her chances of winning goodbye.
And thanks, stupid Pubs in Illinois that voted for Topinka instead of Jim Oberweiss in the primary, knowing that if Ryan were convicted, she would be tarred with his scandal by virtue of her having been one of his buddies. And thanks Mr. Brady from Downstate, who jumped in as a conservative alternative to Oberweiss in this state, serving as a stalking horse against Oberweiss, and thus throwing the election to Topinka by splitting the vote and throwing the margin of victory to her. You reap what you sew, and meanwhile Illinois suffers and another crooked Governor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, also under investigation for illegal dealings, will thus be re-elected. Sickening.
I know the death row convicts did not get out of prison. I still think it was not right for Ryan to just automatically commute all those sentences. I think it was cruel to the families of the dead.
Actually they did, (towards the very end):
In 2000, the Republican governor declared a moratorium on executions in Illinois after 13 death row inmates were found to have been wrongly convicted.
Damn straight. It doesn't matter what Ryan has done for the left in the past. He's irrelevant now. As Ann Coulter said, the media and the left will go to bed with "moderate Republicans," but they sure won't respect them in the morning. Ryan will find out exactly how expendable he is to the Illinois Dems. Just ask Bob Packwood.
How's that for a politician's view of life? "heck, I commuted all those death sentences and all you postal workers on the jury STILL convicted me?!?!"
me too. shocked!
Lormand, as an Illinois voter who voted for George Ryan, the reason he emptied Death Row is for the reason of a future trial. Trials in Chicago always include juries with anti-death penalty blacks, and Ryan advisors realized this. They hoped for a hung jury and it backfired. Instead scums of the earth were spared execution for political reasons.
Flag I disagree. What this does is hurt Blagoevich. It makes him look like another Corrupt Illinois Governor that he is. George Ryan has been played out in Illinois, nobody here will care in 1 or 2 months. Blago will be next.
"Flag I disagree. What this does is hurt Blagoevich. It makes him look like another Corrupt Illinois Governor that he is. George Ryan has been played out in Illinois, nobody here will care in 1 or 2 months. Blago will be next."
Do you think it is possible, the way the system is set up (especially in places like Illinois), for an honest person to get nominated and/or elected? Seriously, I wonder. It seems that those who play fair have no chance.
I think the system is part of the problem. How do we fix this?
After Ryan is sentenced in June, people in Illinois will forget quickly and move on. Blagoevich will not use Ryan against Topinka, because he has his own FED problems and chicago's hired truck scandal. Blago is a sleaze, and Ryan was played out in the 2002 elections anyways.
P.S word out of Chicago is Ryan will turn on his buddy Mayor Daley and City Hall to get a lighter sentence. WOW!!!!!!!
"I think the system is part of the problem. How do we fix this?"
With great difficulty. The Pub Party in Illinois is fractured, pretty much split in two between the "moderate" element and the conservatives. Judy Barr Topinka and former Governors Jim Edgar, George Ryan and Big Jim Thompson are examples of the more liberal wing of the Pub Party (the Rockefeller types, for lack of a better comparison). The conservatives always put up too many candidates against each other which ends up splitting the conservative vote. I think the system will only be "fixed" if the conservatives unite behind one candidate early enough in the primary game so that perhaps a conservative primary candidate will actually win, rather than a RINO.
I think too many Pubs in this state believe that they have to put up a RINO or the Pub Party won't stand a chance to win, as there are so many Dems in this state, primarily in Chicago, but with some in certain parts of rural downstate also. So we keep ending up with pro-abortion, pro-gay socially liberal RINO candidates. But at least they are usually more fiscally conservative than any Dem candidate is, which is a good thing, . Blago is another sneaky fundraising crook, who wheels and deals, but will undoubtedly win again in November because we once again have put forth a RINO candidate, more RINO than some of our previous RINO's, and also a prior crony of now convicted George Ryan, which will be the kiss of death as the Dems will point this out at every turn.
"P.S word out of Chicago is Ryan will turn on his buddy Mayor Daley and City Hall to get a lighter sentence. WOW!!!!!!!"
That will be fun. Can hardly wait for the show. Will get my popcorn out.
Flag Ryan is a 72 year old man with nothing to lose, I believe sleazy Chicago Pols like Daley and his brothers are S#$#ing a brick right now...knowing Ryan will make a deal to Patrick Fitzgerald to hand the Daley family on a stick.
I still have a dozen or so FR tickets left.
I'll give you a good price on the lot of them...
.."oooohh, can I go to prison if he don't want to go
I remember when Lyin' Ryan was running against Glenn Poshard for governer. Poshard was an old fashioned prolife Democrat (don't remember them?) but he was from downstate.
Ryan got tons of the liberal single-issue Democrats to vote for him, even though everyone knew he was disgusting, dishonest, and corrupt, just because he was thoroughly proabortion. Gawd, I wish the whole RoevWade thing never happened.
This was the same cycle that Al Salvi ran. The libs hated him because he was progun, but after election he turned into a gun grabber. He's now respected for his growth.
This won't affect Illinois at all. When Chicago alderman Larry Bloom, the moral conscience of the Dems, went to the big house, no one even noticed or cared. Who remembers or cares about Otto Kerner (of the Kerner Commission) or Dan Walker?
dangit what did I miss last night? I saw the last half, not the first (Sopranos)
I think we should also give credit where credit is due to the US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald who is putting a lot of these crooked Illinois politicians in jail
Sir, your arrogant demeanor isn't going to do you any favors on this one for now YOU are not making the decisions.
That's right. Without Fitzgerald, or someone like him, none of this would have happened. Guaranteed.
How's that for a politician's view of life? "heck, I commuted all those death sentences and all you postal workers on the jury STILL convicted me?!?!
It's the forty years of public service that positioned him for this corruption!
These politicians never cease to amaze me.
"I believe this decision today is not in accordance with the kind of public service that I provided to the people of Illinois over 40 years
This verdict greatly pleases me as he will now be sent to the place in which he tried to send honest people.
Fitzgerald botched up the Libby case mate. Knowing that Joe Wilson and Plame were drunk and telling their neighbors at Parties she was an agent, negates Fitz' case. Why did he bother with an indictment? Wilson is a hack.