CHICAGO - The 7th Circuit rejected former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's request for a rehearing, putting Ryan a step closer to serving his 6-½-year prison sentence for fraud and racketeering. A jury convicted Ryan in April 2006 of steering state contracts to business associates, using state money to run his campaigns and squashing an investigation into bribery in the driver's license bureau.
In a 6-3 decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Ryan's request for a rehearing by the full circuit. The majority gave no reason for the denial; the minority wrote that while the evidence is overwhelmingly against Ryan, a new hearing should be granted. The court ruled that Ryan could remain free while his attorneys seek a new hearing. The U.S. Supreme Court will be Ryan's last chance to avoid prison.