George Ryan Asks Obama for Clemency

Former Illinois governor currently serving time in federal penitentiary

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010  |  Updated 6:29 PM CDT
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For at least the third time, former Gov. George Ryan is asking the President of the United States to let him out of jail. 

The request was made by Ryan's wife, Lura Lynn Ryan, who has a terminal lung disease and is on oxygen 24 hours a day, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Illinois' former first lady has twice made similar requests.  One request was made by a personal letter she wrote that was put in former President George W. Bush's hand "by a close friend" whom she would not name.  In a later attempt, she called former First Lady Barbara Bush and asked for her help in persuading her son

Neither attempt was successful.

In the final days of the Bush presidency, then-President-Elect Barack Obama -- who knows Ryan well from his time in the Illinois legislature -- said he didn't feel it was "appropriate" to comment on whether Ryan should be granted clemency.  

Attempts on Wednesday to get comment from the White House have so far been unsuccessful.

Ryan was convicted four years ago on charges of racketeering and fraud and is currently serving a six-and-a-half year prison sentence.  He's scheduled to be released from a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., on July 4, 2013.

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