Ryan's Defense Asks for Release

Arguments could lead to early release

By Ivanna Hampton and Charlie Wojciechowski
|  Monday, Nov 22, 2010  |  Updated 9:38 PM CDT
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1999-2009: The Decade of Indictments

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George Ryan met an inglorious end to his political career.

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Former Governor George Ryan is taking another shot at getting out of prison early.

Ryan's attorneys Monday presented oral arguments before Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer at the Dirksen Federal Building Monday, asking for some of the charges on which he was convicted to be thrown out and for the former governor to be released early. .

Ryan didn't make it to the hearing, but his defense team argued the U.S. Supreme Court's narrowing of the definition of the honest services law nullified some of the former governor's 2006 convictions.

Prosecutors countered the law still applies since the convictions for racketeering, conspiracy and tax fraund, involved kickbacks and bribes not related to the ruling.

Judge Pallmeyer said she'll rule soon on the motion.

"We're very grateful to the court for the amount of time that she gave us.  She's obviously taken this case very seriously and we'll just have to wait," said attorney Andrea Lyon.

Ryan is serving time in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. on racketeering, conspiracy, and other charges.

He's served about three years of his 6 1/2 year sentence. Defense attorneys asked that he be released during the deliberations so that he could attend to his ailing wife, Lura Lynn Ryan, who suffers from a terminal disease. She was in court this morning using an oxygen canister to breate.

"I'm just looking forward to getting George home to spend a few years with me that we have left," she said.

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