Ward Room
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Governor George Ryan's Appeal Denied

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Ryan wanted to be released from his six-and-a-half year prison term following a Supreme Court ruling on honest services that affected his case. Mary Ann Ahern reports on the options that remain.

An Illinois appeals court has again denied a motion by former Governor George Ryan to overturn a set of convictions that became questionable after a Supreme Court ruling altered the foundation of one of the laws under which he was sentenced. 

He won't be released or granted a new trial. 

"George Ryan, as a public official, had a duty to provide honest services to the people of the state of Illinois who elected him," reads the opinoin by Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook. " And the evidence in this case has shown that he repeatedly violated that duty.

“The benefits included free vacations, loans, gifts, campaign contributions, as well as lobbying money that Ryan assigned or directed to his buddies.  In short, Ryan sold his office.  He might as well have put up a ‘for sale’ sign on the office.”

Ryan wanted to be released from his six-and-a-half year prison term following a Supreme Court ruling on honest services that affected his case. The appellate court upheld the former governor's corruption convictions last July. But the Supreme Court didn't like how they arrived at their upheld conviction and asked them to try again. 

Ryan's attorneys had argued the charges should be overturned because prosecutors never proved he took a bribe.

The appellate court said the U.S. Supreme Court ruling curtailing "honest services" laws didn't apply since Ryan's case clearly involved bribery and kickbacks Easterbrook, wrote the previous opinion saying there was sufficient evidence of bribery and kickbacks in Ryan's case.  
 
The U.S. Supreme Court in April ordered the appeals court to revisit Ryan's arguments to overturn his conviction. Last year, the lower court rejected arguments that the 2006 convictions should be tossed because prosecutors never proved Ryan took a bribe.
 
The high court took issue with how that court reached its decision. In upholding Ryan's convictions, the court concluded defense attorneys didn't make a timely objection to jury instructions about "honest services" laws
 
The 78-year-old Ryan is nearing the end of a 6 1/2-year sentence. He is due to be released from a federal prison in mid-2013.

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