Former Governor Ryan May Request Presidential Pardon

This week the Supreme Court refused without comment to hear the appeal of former Illinois governor George Ryan and co-defendant Larry Warner. The defendants claimed that they had suffered an unfair trial, arguing that the replacement of several jurors during deliberation created chaos in the courtroom. Convicted of fraud, racketeering, and bribery in April 2006, Ryan and Warner appealed their case to no avail, and Ryan began serving his sentence in a federal prison last November.

Federal Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, lauding the Supreme Court’s decision, commented on Tuesday:

“Mr. Ryan has exhausted every legal avenue and argument afforded him but the verdict stands that he was guilty of corrupting the highest office in the state.”

George Ryan’s last recourse is to request a presidential pardon, and his attorneys have indicated their intent to move in this direction. According to the Chicago Tribune, Alan R. Gitelson, a Loyola University political scientist, has predicted a 50-50 chance that Ryan would receive a Bush pardon:

“If (Bush) commutes it, it will be on the grounds of (Ryan’s) age and his health. Unlike Libby, it will be a humanitarian act.”

President Bush previously pardoned Lewis “Scooter” Libby, following his high-profile conviction for perjury and obstruction of justice.

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