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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ryan Crimes Won’t Face Another High Court Look

CHICAGO (CN) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the latest challenge by former Illinois Gov. George Ryan against his corruption convictions.

Ryan, now 78 years old, was convicted in 2006 of racketeering, mail fraud, tax violations and making false statements to the FBI. The 7th Circuit first affirmed his convictions in 2007 and the Supreme Court denied certiorari the following year.

He found new ammunition to challenge his convictions after Skilling v. United States, in which the high court limited the scope of the "honest services" mail fraud theory by disallowing convictions based solely on concealment of payments.

Though the 7th Circuit initially rejected Ryan's arguments, the Supreme Court ordered reconsideration. On remand, the 7th Circuit again affirmed Ryan's convictions, finding that at least two of the mail fraud counts - and possibly all four - stemmed from the jury's finding of bribery.

"By convicting on the tax counts, the jury found that Ryan knowingly accepted payment in exchange for official acts - that he was bribed, rather than just that he failed to disclose gifts to the public," Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote for a three-member panel last August.

The 7th Circuit refused to rehear Ryan's arguments before the 10 active members of the court, prompting a third petition to the Supreme Court for certiorari.

On Tuesday, the court denied Ryan's petition without comment, as is its custom.

Ryan has already completed most of his 6 1/2-year prison sentence. He is scheduled to be released from a Terre Haute minimum security facility in June.

While Ryan was incarcerated his wife, Lura Lynn, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer denied Ryan's request to shorten his sentence based on his wife's condition. The 7th Circuit affirmed that ruling as well, though prison authorities allowed Ryan to be at his wife's side when she died.

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