Former Illinois Governor George Ryan guilty on all charges

| 4/17/2006

One of the most controversial political figures in Illinois history has been convicted on racketeering, fraud and conspiracy charges.

On Monday, April 17, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was found guilty on all 18 counts filed against him. His co-defendant, Chicago businessman Larry Warner, was also found guilty.

The case against the two men focused on corruption during Ryan’s time as Illinois secretary of state, prior to his term as governor from 1999-2003. According to CNN, prosecutors found several instances where Ryan routed large corporate contracts into the hands of his friends and associates.

Like his governance, Ryan’s trial was filled with controversy. After problems with the original jury, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer dismissed two jurors and replaced them with members of the original jury pool – a move that could cause the verdict to be put on hold or the case to be retried if an appeal is filed by Ryan’s attorneys, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“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,” Ryan told The Associated Press.

If the verdict holds, Ryan could face as much as 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in August, The AP said.

During his time as governor, Ryan impacted the transportation sector by providing more than $6 billion in road repairs for the Illinois Highway System. However, he is likely known best for commuting the sentences of 167 death-row inmates at the end of his term in 2003.