Jury convicts former Illinois Gov. Ryan

April 17, 2006 at 1:53 PM
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CHICAGO, April 17 (UPI) -- A federal court jury in Chicago Monday convicted former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on corruption and racketeering charges.

Ryan was convicted on 18 counts.

It was the 10th day of deliberation for the panel. Deliberations actually began four weeks ago but two jurors were dismissed for failing to disclose certain information during the impaneling process, and the remaining jurors and two replacements had to begin discussions anew.

The jury also convicted Ryan co-defendant Larry Warner on all 12 counts in the indictment against him. Sentencing was set for Aug. 4.

Ryan attorney Dan Webb said he and his client were disappointed in the verdict.

"We are going to begin working immediately on post-trial motions to get this verdict overturned," Webb said. He said if those motions are unsuccessful, an appeal would be filed.

"I believe this decision today in not in accordance with the public service I put in for the people of Illinois," Ryan said, adding that he is disappointed.

Ryan, a Kankakee pharmacist, was indicted in December 2003 in a racketeering, mail fraud and influence-selling conspiracy that allegedly began when he was Illinois secretary of state. He served one term as governor and did not seek re-election.

During the gubernatorial campaign, allegations surfaced over his tenure in the secretary of state's office, involving the sale of trucking licenses following the deaths of six children in a Wisconsin highway accident involving an Illinois trucker. Dozens of people were convicted in that investigation, dubbed Operation Safe Roads.

The charges against Ryan involved free vacations at a seaside villa in Jamaica, loans to his brother's business and the acceptance of other valuables.

Ryan and Warner did not testify during the six-month trial before U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer. Both denied any wrongdoing.

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