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GUILTY

Monday, Apr 17, 2006

CBS2 reports that both defendants, George Ryan and Larry Warner, are guilty on all counts.

[I’ve reversed the order of the updates to put the most recent one at the top.]

UPDATE 51: The final, final update (I hope). The Tribune’s editorial is already online.

Through his actions and inactions, George Ryan essentially destroyed the Republican Party in Illinois. He also destroyed himself.

This was a man acclaimed by many people for his moratorium on capital punishment-congratulated by world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, honored by the lighting of the Coliseum in Rome, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yet this also is a man hounded from office because, by the end of one term as governor, the stench of corruption on his watch rendered him untouchable. The people of Illinois, though long inured to their state’s culture of political sleaze, saw his re-election as intolerable.

UPDATE 50: OK, just one more. This post from another publication shows why predictions about this kind of stuff should be avoided by even the most astute observers (and they have some good ones over there):

[The chance that] George Ryan is found guilty on all counts: 5 percent. The volume of counts is a prosecution strategy, yet some reporters have taken the bait.

UPDATE 49: That’s it for me for today. If you find any other updates, put them in the comments section.

UPDATE 48: IIS: ISU expert says Ryan verdict not likely to result in more ethics reform (listen here)… Also, Mike Lawrence reacts (listen here).

UPDATE 47: Crain’s:

Jurors also indicated that deliberations were still in a preliminary phase when U.S. District Court judge Rebecca Pallmeyer dismissed two of them several weeks ago. That could be crucial because defense attorneys are almost certain to claim on appeal that Ms. Pallmeyer should have declared a mistrial rather than replacing the two jurors.

UPDATE 46: TIME Magazine:

Now that the verdict on Ryan is in, it is sure to play a role in this year’s gubernatorial race. Current Gov. Rod Blagojevich will likely say it proves that the Democrats are the only party capable of protecting the integrity of state government. Meanwhile his opponent, state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, will probably argue that Blagojevich, whose administration is also being probed, is definitely not the man for that job. “We’ll see the commercials very soon,” said Roosevelt University political scientist Paul Green. “Each will manipulate this for their own purposes.” Just as history shows so many Illinois politicians, like Ryan, have done with their own elected positions.

UPDATE 45: Fritchey Calls for Immediate Passage of Ethics Bill

In the hours following the guilty verdict in the corruption trial of former Governor George Ryan, State Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) is calling for the immediate passage of House Bill 4073, legislation that would significantly reduce the corrupting influence of campaign contributions on the awarding of State contracts, commonly referred to as the “pay-to-play” system. An initiative of State Comptroller Dan Hynes, Rep. Fritchey introduced the bill over a year ago with bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Specifically, the bill prohibits those holding contracts over $25,000 from making a political contribution to the officeholder who awarded the contract. The bill further requires, as part of the procurement process, bidders on state contracts worth more than $10,000 to disclose all campaign contributions to the officeholder awarding the contract for the prior two years. The contribution ban would be in effect for the length of the officeholder’s term or for two years past the completion of the contract, whichever is greater.

UPDATE 44: Pat Collins:

“Unless and until the state, city and county learn there are victims of corruption, there are tangible consequences of corruption, (and) unless and until people who vote understand that there are important consequences in their public officials’ acts of dishonesty, this system will not change.”

UPDATE 43: Gov. Blagojevich has released another statement. This one is from the campaign.

“The George Ryan convictions prove once more that a culture of corruption and mismanagement was tolerated during his Administration. It is further evidence that the old way of doing things cheated the people of Illinois.

Unfortunately, too many of those who point fingers today had positions of responsibility during the Ryan Administration and were silent before. Governor Blagojevich has made great strides in making government work for people, from improving access to health care to investing more in our schools by cutting government waste and inefficiency. We can’t afford as a state to go back to the corruption and mismanagement that gave us a $5 billion deficit and today’s verdict.”

UPDATE 42: CBS2 has a lot of video links.

UPDATE 41: Daily Herald:

The specter of political lobbying followed Ryan even as he entered the federal building on the way to hear the verdict Monday.

A man standing in the marble hall called to Ryan, saying: “I had lunch with you!” Ryan walked over, chatted a moment and slapped the man on the back.

Afterward, the man — Joel Farber, a Skokie accountant who said he was a lobbyist for the Illinois Park and Recreation Association during Ryan’s time in Springfield — said he wished the former governor good luck, and “he took it in stride.” Farber said that in his days as a lobbyist he made frequent trips to Springfield and on one such trip had the opportunity to attend a luncheon with Ryan.

UPDATE 40: How do you think this impacts the fall campaign?

UPDATE 39: From the Tribune:

UPDATE 38: Tribune:

House Republican leader Tom Cross, Oswego: “First of all, I think it’s a sad day for all of Illinois. It’s a huge black eye for our state, and it’s sad and disappointing.”

Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), a longtime friend of Ryan, released a brief statement through a spokeswoman: “His heart goes out to former Gov. Ryan and his family.”

UPDATE 37: No statement yet from Mayor Daley. Maybe nothing until tomorrow.

UPDATE 36: NBC5 has a “brief list of notable Illinois politicians who have had run-ins with the law.” Use the comments to remind us of others.

UPDATE 35: WBBM 780 reports that one heckler shouted, “Hey, George, enjoy your new address!” Ryan reportedly seemed confused at first, then stared back when he realized what the heckler meant.

UPDATE 34: Whistleblower Tammy Raynor says she’s suprised by the verdict, according to 780. Didn’t expect guilty on all counts. Says she’s happy to be getting on with her life.

UPDATE 33: Gov. Blagojevich was supposed to have a press conference at noon today, but he canceled it.

UPDATE 32: CBS2’s feed is offline for now. Head to WBBM 780.

UPDATE 31: CBS2:

State politicians voiced their opinions today after former Gov. George Ryan was found guilty in his five-month corruption trial.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Ryan’s conviction “proves that no one is above the law.” […]

Blagojevich said the trial proves that the government is “supposed to exist for the good of the people, not the other way around.”

And he added that those who serve in government shouldn’t do so for the “personal enrichment.”

UPDATE 30: Archpundit:

Patrick Collins is a star who may well be the next Patrick Fitzgerald.

If you are under investigation by Fitzgerald and you have done anything wrong, plea now. Really. This is one of the more complex cases I’ve ever seen and Webb is a damn good defense lawyer–and Webb couldn’t even get Ryan off on any of the charges.

In DC, Springfield, and Chicago, there are a lot of people who thought that just maybe Patrick Fitzgerald was overrated. This result will sober them up very quickly.

Finally, given the jury problems there are some very serious issues for appeals. I don’t know which way they will go, but it is certainly possible that a new trial will be ordered. I imagine if that happens, Ryan and Warner will plea. If not, they will be in prison, possibly for the rest of their lives.

UPDATE 29: All parties waived jury hearing on forfeiture. Will be determined by the judge.

UPDATE 28: Pat Collins: Winston & Strawn had more people assigned to this case than the feds did.

UPDATE 27: AP photos.

UPDATE 26: Crain’s:

The investigation played a major role in the 2002 gubernatorial election, with Democrat Rod Blagojevich arguing it was time to end a Republican culture of sleaze and restore ethics to state government.

Since then, however, the Blagojevich administration has itself been under federal investigation of alleged pay-to-play activities.

Both Mr. Blagojevich, who is running for reelection, and his GOP challenger, state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, are expected to make an issue of ethics reform in this year’s election.

UPDATE 25: Ryan’s full statement.

UPDATE 24: Tribune flash media history of Ryan’s long saga.

UPDATE 23: Tribune photos.

UPDATE 22: One of the G-Men just said that until voters wake up to corruption nothing will change in Illinois.

UPDATE 21: AP:

Customers at a tavern in former Governor George Ryan’s hometown of Kankakee say they’re shocked that a federal jury in Chicago found Ryan guilty of all the charges against him today.

The customers at The Landing Bar and Grill say they figured the jury would convict Ryan of some of the charges, but not every charge in the 22-count indictment. Co-defendant Larry Warner was also convicted of all the charges against him.

Rhonda Bouchard says she thinks Ryan was guilty of at least some of the charges. But she also wonders if — with the dismissal of the jurors and all the chaos surrounding the trial — Ryan got a fair trial. She says that maybe after five months maybe the jurors just decided to convict Ryan of all the charges to get things over with.

UPDATE 20: The Daily Herald has a list of the charges online (pdf file).

UPDATE 19: Patrick Fitzgerald: “Charges involved were very serious and the corrupt conduct was very disturbing.”

UPDATE 18: CBS2:

As the two men stood in the bathroom of the Dirksen Federal Building, former Gov. George Ryan told CBS 2’s Jon Duncanson what he’s really disappointed with is the media.

They got it wrong, he said. They were looking for something “sexy” to put on their front pages, he said.

As Ryan and his wife, Lura Lynn, took a slow walk this morning to the Dirksen Federal Building where they awaited a verdict in his corruption trial, the former governor tried to make a joke to the group waiting outside, Duncanson reports.

“Good morning, quiet group in here,” Ryan said.

No one returned his greeting.

UPDATE 17: “Not hard at all” to restart deliberations, juror says.

UPDATE 16: Prosecutors about to speak.

UPDATE 15: CBS2 has spoken to a juror who wished that Ryan had testified on his own behalf. He also reportedly said there was “no smoking gun,” no one thing that convicted Ryan. He added that he “did not buy” Dan Webb’s description of Ryan as a hands-off governor.

UPDATE 14: Alternate juror says he wasn’t aware of Ryan’s work on capital punishment.

UPDATE 13: Jury forewoman says no juror was holding out for an innocent verdict during deliberations. “Not that I recall.”

UPDATE 12: Rev. Scott Willis: “Gratefully surprised by the verdict.”

UPDATE 11: Topinka statement:

“Today is a sad day for Illinois. This trial and subsequent verdict exposed abuses of power, ethical lapses, failures in judgment, and a pattern of corruption in Illinois government.

“Now that the jury has spoken, it’s time for all of us to move forward with a renewed commitment to honoring the public’s trust by upholding the highest standards of honesty and integrity in government.

“We can begin that process by ending pay-to-play politics, eliminating no-bid contracts, restricting the influence of lobbyists, and increasing transparency in political campaigns and the business of government. Most importantly, we can lead by example in promoting a culture in Illinois that celebrates accountability, openness, and the truth.”

UPDATE 10: AP:

“I believe this decision today is not in accordance with the kind of public service that I provided to the people of Illinois over 40 years, and needless to say I am disappointed in the outcome,” Ryan said. “But I feel confident in our appeal, and there will be an appeal.”

Ryan’s lead attorney, former federal prosecutor Dan K. Webb, zeroed in on U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer’s decision to bring in two alternates and restart deliberations after dismissing two jurors eight days into the original deliberations.

“We’re going to begin working immediately on post-trial motions to try to get this verdict overturned,” Webb said.

UPDATE 9: CBS2 reports that Ryan was met with hecklers when he left the building, with at least one person shouting, “You got what you deserved!”

UPDATE 8: AP: “Ryan sat stone-faced as the verdict was read.”

UPDATE 7: Jury is speaking now.

UPDATE 6: People, I’ve had to delete several comments so far today and I don’t have time to babysit. From now on, if your comment is deleted you will automatically be placed in comment moderation for at least the rest of the day. Thanks.

UPDATE 5: George Ryan: There will be an appeal.

UPDATE 4: Dan Webb: “I’m very disappointed in the verdict… We’re going to begin immediately on post-trial motions… appeal…” much of the previous jury trouble is under seal, which will be lifted soon.

UPDATE 3: George Ryan is expected to make a statement soon.

UPDATE 2: Sentencing date August 4th.

UPDATE: Not much there yet, but The story is now up, so check this link for Tribune coverage. The AP report is up at the Sun-Times.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

81 Comments
  1. - anon - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:25 pm:

    How much time do you think they’ll get?


  2. - Spfld_wonkette - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:29 pm:

    Corruption carries 20 years alone —- he’s spending the rest of his life in prison even if the sentence is served concurrently.


  3. - Lovie's Leather - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:31 pm:

    Some pundit on ABC says 20+ years. That’s a life sentence for Ryan. Now, it is time for massive appeals during campaign season. Yay… this is gonna suck.


  4. - Meet your new wife - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:31 pm:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. He got what he deserved. And to answer the first question, he is looking at REAL time. Breach of public trust gives a big upward departure in the sentencing guidelines.


  5. - Common Sense in Illinois - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:32 pm:

    Otto Kerner, Dan Walker and now George Ryan. Illinois, you put me in a helluva state!


  6. - Scott Cisek - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:35 pm:

    The appeal is inevitable. I am sure the defense is prepared to make this last as long as possible. With all the jury hokum, I am sure this is going to continue.

    The sentence will be handed down August 4th, if I heard correctly.

    GUILTY AS CHARGED.


  7. - leigh - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:37 pm:

    What implications do you think this will have on others facing possible indictments?


  8. - Gregor Samsa - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:45 pm:

    My guess is they will sentence him to a token 20 months in a minimum security facility followed by parole. But he won’t begin serving until another 2 years worth of appeals. It will be a race between failing health and the end of the appeals process for him. If I was in a position to do something about it, I’d fast-track his appeal all the way up to the state supreme court to burn thru it as rapidly as possible and get to serving the time.


  9. - anonymous - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:45 pm:

    As mentioned, I think the Judge is going to make a REAL example of this trial.


  10. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:48 pm:

    Well, what do you know? Can you say the word Appeal? The jury problems will no doubt be the key. Just listening to Dan Webb on WGN.

    Ryan on radio right now. He’s disappointed in the outcome and says he will appeal. Feels that the appeal will reverse the decision.


  11. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:53 pm:

    For those who care, Dan Walker wasn’t convicted of anything related to his tenure as Governor. It was bank fraud, I believe, after he left office. Please stop including him in the list of “corrupt” Illinois Governors.


  12. - Randall Sherman - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:55 pm:

    Note to Gregor Samsa: This is a federal case, so the state appellate and supreme courts will have as much to with the appeals process as you or I; nothing.

    The federal appeals process can take a while, unless the judges want to speed it up. Since this could be a complex appeal (due in part to the dismissal and replacement of two jurors after jury deliberations had begun), you should not expect the appeals process to be rushed. It is quite likely that Ryan and Warner will have spent a year or more in federal prison before the appeals process is completed.

    The end of this trial also means that the U.S. Attorney’s office will be able to redirect significant resources to investigate and prosecute a number of other SOB politicos.


  13. - scoot - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:58 pm:

    What a waste of public service. I wonder what the mood is like at the Blago camp (happy or nervous)?


  14. - Bill Baar - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:59 pm:

    I don’t find that real comforting about Walker 47th.

    It’s still sad record for Illinois.


  15. - southernilrepub - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 12:59 pm:

    Finally we can begin to move forward as a State and maybe Blago will be on the serving plate next!


  16. - Pat Collins - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:02 pm:

    If the sentences are heavy, one might expect to see some people who have something to worry about beating a path to make a deal, while they still can…….


  17. - Cassandra - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:03 pm:

    It’s my impression that appellate courts are not eager to overturn jury verdicts. This wasn’t a bench trial. Were the jury instructions badly drafted? Was a lot of bad evidence admitted in? I don’t think so. And theidea that an appellate court would overturn all 22 counts seems extremely remote.

    This will be tough on the JBT campaign but it should also be making Hairdo a little nervous given all the pending investigations.


  18. - Thom Yorke - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:14 pm:

    47th Ward - The fact remains that a man who should be a pillar of leadership and representative of the public was nothing more than a pathetic criminal. The transative property of Gubernatorial Corruption:

    Dan Walker, Private Citizen = Illinois Governor Dan Walker
    Dan Walker, Private Citizen = Corrupt Criminal
    Corrupt Criminal = Illinois Governor Dan Walker


  19. - Wumpus - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:15 pm:

    This will sadly be turned over on appeal, thanks to a few idiotic (IL’s finest) jurors. For the Willis chilfren, this has to eb some kind of justice.


  20. Pingback The Next Frontier » George Ryan verdict developing: GUILTY - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:16 pm:

    […] Capitol Fax has a statement from Judy Baar Topinka: We can begin that process by ending pay-to-play politics, eliminating no-bid contracts, restricting the influence of lobbyists, and increasing transparency in political campaigns and the business of government. Most importantly, we can lead by example in promoting a culture in Illinois that celebrates accountability, openness, and the truth. […]


  21. - bo jackson - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:20 pm:

    I wonder if Mayor Daley will call up his criminal defense attorney from DC today to talk about his own future.


  22. - DOWNSTATE - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:20 pm:

    Watch out corrupt politicans this is the feather in the hat this prosecutor has been wanting.There has been several comments made that Blago will be indicted before election.I wonder if that is why some Democrats want Meeks hanging around.


  23. - Dem Voting R - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:31 pm:

    I can’t decide if this is a sad day for us all - once again having placed our trust in someone who was supposed to SERVE. Or a happy day that the system does work, slowly and fitfully, but with justice upheld. Thanks should go to the jurors (the ones who didn’t lie to get on it, that is), the credible and patient judge, and the prosecutors who meticulously put together for us all the story behind all the headlines. Now, we get to spend the next few months deciding where do we go from here? And that suddenly means more to me today. Politics? Bah! How about old-fashioned things like virture, fidelity and honesty? How does a people govern themselves at a time like this? That I look forward to talking about!


  24. - Bubs - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:38 pm:

    The lights will burn late tonight in offices across Chicago and Springfield. The aftershocks are reverberating.

    Let’s hope that the thusfar uncooperative boys from Inter-Governmental Affairs were taking notes as the verdicts were read.


  25. - Levois - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:47 pm:

    Topinka’s comments are interesting.


  26. - Little Egypt - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 1:48 pm:

    Call me naive, but this verdict tells me that at least our Federal judicial system is not for sale. Does this make Patrick Fitzgerald undefeated in his quest to clean up Government? I don’t believe that Fitz would have brought forth indictments if he didn’t believe he had a strong case. I’m not sure who has placed “The Best Attorney in the US” label on Dan Webb but I never believed that was true. High profile yes, but the best — no.

    Ryan is definitely a broken man now and I’d bet my right arm that Winston & Strawn will not continue to provide free counsel to him. So there goes the campaign war chest and any other slush fund that has been created to help out with defense costs.

    Does anyone know if this guilty verdict, should it stand and Ryan end up doing time, will result in Ryan forfeiting his State pension?

    My final (printable) thought on this is: REMEMBER THE WILLIS CHILDREN.


  27. - the Patriot - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 2:02 pm:

    Great for Topinka, she can wash her hands, call justice served, and put a message that corrupt politicos from either party will be prosecuted in IL.

    The lingering question is does George have another chip to play? He was elected by Chicago so one has to wonder his personal knowledge of he Chicago Machine. Does he have enough to give to give him a hope of seeing daylight? The way I see it, facing 20+ years, there is only one fish left in the pond big enough for George not to die in prison, and I don’t know George has what is needed to haul Daley Fitz’ boat.

    A deal for 8 to 10 and he probably dies in jail. He needs 3-5 and I don’t know they will even give that to him for Daley on a silver platter.


  28. - the Patriot - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 2:03 pm:

    The lingering question is does George have another chip to play? He was elected by Chicago so one has to wonder his personal knowledge of he Chicago Machine. Does he have enough to give to give him a hope of seeing daylight? The way I see it, facing 20+ years, there is only one fish left in the pond big enough for George not to die in prison, and I don’t know George has what is needed to haul Daley Fitz’ boat.

    A deal for 8 to 10 and he probably dies in jail. He needs 3-5 and I don’t know they will even give that to him for Daley on a silver platter.


  29. Pingback » Former Gov. Ryan (R-IL) Guilty on All Counts » Musing Minds » Blog Archive » - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 2:12 pm:

    […] Rich at The Capitol Fax Blog has a terrific round-up. | RSS | Inlinks | Print This Post […]


  30. - Anon sequitur - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 2:37 pm:

    The old joke among prosecutors is that convicting the guilty is easy, but convicting the innocent is where you earn your bones.

    But the feds are not invincible. I know of one individual who fought back hard against the U.S. Attorney and won. Most people told him to plead but he never wavered on his innocence. It took 3 years and all the money he had, but he finally got the feds to drop all charges. It was a high price to pay for his justice.


  31. - Little Egypt - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 2:41 pm:

    Update 22 says it all. Shame on each and every voter in this state if we do not learn a lesson from this. We can have good government, if we want it bad enough.


  32. - IrishPirate - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:13 pm:

    This is merely Act 3 in a long play. While I think Ryan was clearly guilty of being a scumbucket I suspect the jury issues will likely result in a new trial. If that happens both sides should cut a deal and save everyone time, money and aggravation.

    As for Blago and the other corrupt Illinois pols, including Da Mare of Chi caw gah, they should prepare for further indictments of friends, cronies and possibly themselves


  33. - Skeeter - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:15 pm:

    “Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), a longtime friend of Ryan, released a brief statement through a spokeswoman: “His heart goes out to former Gov. Ryan and his family.” ”

    Isn’t this the real problem in Illinois?

    The jury has spoken — after hearing the evidence, they found Gov. Ryan guilty.

    Shouldn’t Sen. Jones’s heart go out to all of us in this State, who were jointly the victims of Gov. Ryan?

    It is one thing to keep an open mind when the man was charged and to hope for the best for th man. It is another to be on his side after he has been convicted. It is now time to be our side.


  34. - Pat C (not a Fed) - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:43 pm:

    I guess for a few days I need a new ID.

    I liked the comment about W&S had more people working the case than the feds did. Wonder if that kicks off a new round of “who talks first”.

    Dan Webb not the best

    Well, just because he can’t get off a crook doesn’t mean he isn’t extremely good. I know if I ever get in trouble who I’d like to be on my side…..


  35. - Pat C (not a Fed) - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:44 pm:

    Sen. Jones

    I just think this is one guy standing by an old friend in his time of need. I would not read more into it.


  36. - Papa Legba - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:48 pm:

    It looks like Judy has a poster child for pay-to-play politics to hold up as a comparison for our current pay-to-play governor.

    I’ll bet that GRod is starting to sweat those investigations going on in his administration. Looks like nothing gets past PFitz when he sharpens his teeth.


  37. - Skeeter - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:53 pm:

    - Pat C (not a Fed) - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:44 pm:

    Sen. Jones

    I just think this is one guy standing by an old friend in his time of need. I would not read more into it. ”

    That’s the problem, Pat.

    Sen. Jones considers his friend to be the convicted former governor, rather than the people of the State of Illinois. According to a federal jury, after hearing the evidence, George Ryan is in trouble now because George Ryan was corrupt. We are the victims, not Ryan.


  38. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 3:55 pm:

    Why should Fitz and Collins cut a deal to eliminate charges on a case they won and would most likely win again?

    Any deal will merely be a deal on the prison time.

    If Winston & Strawn starts to jerk around Fitz, he’ll make ‘em pay. I’m sure he has ways to make it more expensive for W & S too.

    And what’s Winston & Strawn’s motivation at this point? They are trying to curry favor with potential clients? Who are these potential clients?


  39. - B Hicks - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:11 pm:

    And what’s Winston & Strawn’s motivation at this point?

    Easy, JRT. I wonder what George knows about his old buddy James.

    Also, I agree 100% with you, Carl. A deal will be cut for prison time. George is going to finger every person he can to get a light sentence. I’d say that there are SEVERAL people that are not going to sleep well tonight.


  40. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:13 pm:

    Bottom line: I think Rod’s attempts to make Ryan’s conviction into an albatross for the GOP candidates who served and/or ran with him in the past aren’t going to fly. He can’t herald Fitzgerald’s handiwork in getting Ryan on the one hand and then on the other pretend that Fitgerald’s not implicating any of them in any wrongdoing is meaningless.

    There is no allegation by the Feds that Topinka was even remotely connected with any of Ryan’s corrupt dealings. At the most, she can be accused of naivety and ignorance….perhaps a reckless negligence for not really knowing who she was getting in bed with.

    But, think about it: She ran on his ticket. We (and by that, I mean the majority of IL voters) voted for him. Can Rod really attack Judy via guilt by association without attacking the voters he needs to get elected as being equally guilty of naivety, ignorance, and reckless negligence for not really knowing who we were getting in bed with? I think most voters can empathize with Judy when she was that she was saddened and suprised by the revelations of wrongdoing and that we need to move forward and really try and put things right.

    A final note on the specifics of the press statement from Blago’s camp:

    “We can’t afford as a state to go back to the corruption and mismanagement that gave us a $5 billion deficit and today’s verdict.”

    That is undeniably true. But what about the corruption and mismanagement that is running up the deficits of today and tomorrow? What about the subpoenas being issued to your administration by the same prosecutor that just beat Ryan?

    Blagojevich’s people have tragically misjudged the situation if they think that Ryan’s conviction is categorically bad for Topinka and good got Rod.


  41. - grand old partisan - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:14 pm:

    sorry, forgot add my name on the last post (4:13pm)


  42. - VanillaMan - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:33 pm:

    Let me repeat myself, please - the number one election issue this year is gubernatorial corruption. This issue will not favor the incumbant governor. The longer this issue hangs on, the more damage it does to the current governor, regardless of who that person is.

    But Blagojevich had a way out, and he even promised to do it in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, but he didn’t. Now he has frittered away his term in office with nothing to show that he even tried to change office and campaign ethics.

    If he just did what he promised to do, he would be innoculated from this entire Ryan issue, and get the additional bonus of looking like a real reformer.

    This governor is a real screw up, like who didn’t see this coming? Did he really think we are so stupid we would just accept partisan comments to keep him from the same fate as George?

    One governor down - one to go.


  43. - Save a Horse Ride a Harley - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:48 pm:

    G$Rod makes George look like a choirboy. Just look at the Holland reports people. Tribune needs to get over this debacle and look at the current trainwreck coming to the State of Illinois with G$Rod’s antics. Hell, Mell told everyone what was/is going on but the beauty of it all is G$Rod is young enough to spend lots of quality time in the SLAMMAH after Fitz and the boys get through with him and his administration.


  44. - SmartAlek - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:49 pm:

    Despite all the shenanigans in the last month, I have to say I was pretty impressed when I heard the jurors speak today. The Rein guy especially seemed to have a good command of all the facts, a proper outlook on the trial, etc. I think others probably did too, they were just less willing to talk to the press.


  45. - Response to Leigh @ 12:37pm - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:55 pm:

    What implications do you think this will have on others facing possible indictments?
    ——-

    Answer: NONE, except maybe Blago.

    Despite what guys like Kass make their living insinuating, there is no way the 5th Floor is going down.

    RMD is way too popular. People, generally speaking, love the mayor and love what he has done to make Chicago a better place to live, raise a family, run a business, etc.

    First of all, RMD is recognized as “the” LEADER amongst BIG CITY Mayors. Secondly, RMD’s braintrust is much more trustworthy, loyal, honest, and most importantly sophisticated - Bill Daley, John Daley, Degnan, Joyce, et al.
    As much as the press wants to villify these guys, they’re good people. PERIOD.

    The only one person who I’d invision possibly pulling a Fallwellian move could be possibly be Victor…BUT on the otherhand, I just can’t see Victor doing anything to hurt the 5th floor.


  46. - Save a Horse Ride a Harley - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:57 pm:

    One other point I forgot, someone was/is wired by the Feds within the G$Rod administration; I know that dinner will not be sweet tonight for the G$Rod inner circle. Imagine Dick Daley’s steak won’t taste so good either. Maybe G$Rod can get his inner circle power washed by that connected contractor that was ripping off IDOT for the same services.


  47. - Truthful James - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 4:57 pm:

    I think that W&S was playing this game with funny money. The time of their attorneys was likely written off as pro bono. Given the normally huge profits at such a firm, what the partners will have is smaller end of year distributions.

    As for their managing partner, he is having quite a year. First Hollinger and now this.


  48. - Response to SAHRAH @ 4:48pm - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:02 pm:

    Quick question…if you’re right and Fitz and the boys put G$Rod in SLAMMAH, do you think G$Rod will finally give-up the ELVIS-shtick?

    Or will he just spend his time refining JAILHOUSE Rock in front of a DAILY LIVE and HUNGRY audience.


  49. - Anon - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:03 pm:

    Anyone who thinks this is good for JBT is fooling themselves. You can almost hear voters laughing as they read her statement. Is she guilty of the same things as G Ryan? Probably not. Will she be easily associated with the George Ryan camp for the next 6 1/2 months? Without a doubt. She’s a part of the old guard, that holds on to stroke their own ego, and for the good of the State GOP should’ve been swept away a few years ago. Can’t help but think the other P Fitzgerald is smiling just a bit today. Not only did the figurehead of the old GOP group responsible for pushing him out get his just desserts today, but at the hands of his most notable appointment!


  50. - Sheridan Correctional Center Employee - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:10 pm:

    Too bad George can’t come To Sheridan(The prison he closed for NO reason)We could of had a cell ready for the corrupt SOB, plus we have over 300 people he laid off watch him! He turned our lives and our families lives into a living hell for almost two years. Welcome to the prison system George…too bad you aren’t comming to Sheridan…I hope you rot, no matter where you go!


  51. - B Hicks - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:21 pm:

    In other testimony, prosecution witness Glenn Good, who served as the manager of various state properties under Ryan while Ryan was secretary of state and later governor, testified that he was a longtime political activist and got his job in the secretary of state’s office through state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.
    He said that after Topinka recommended him, Ryan aide Rich Juliano met with him and said: “We’re going to be offering you a job in physical services (managing buildings) in Chicago– you understand that this is also going to require political work.”

    Yeah, Blago is sweating while Judy is sitting back enjoying a Manhattan tall and a smooth Virginia Slim.


  52. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:34 pm:

    Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Ryan’s conviction “proves that no one is above the law.”

    Tip to blogo - write those words on your hand so you don’t forget them when the Feds come after you.


  53. - Beowulf - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:37 pm:

    1) Does Ryan still continue to collect his state pension despite his abuse of office?
    2) What about the attorneys and other accomplices that aided and abetted Ryan and Larry Warner in their attempt to cloak or hide the trail of corruption and deception that they perpetrated on the public? Will the Feds now go after them?
    3)Will the Feds offer Ryan a reduction in his sentence if he squeals on the other crooked politicians and attorneys that he has knowledge of?
    4) Where do I send a campaign contribution to the “Patrick Fitzgerald For President” campaign?
    5) Thank you to the jurors that reaffirmed my belief that there are still individuals out there with integrity and a code of honor.
    6) Thank you to the juror’s employers and families that helped enable them to show themselves for the heroes that they are. Terrific sacrifices of time and family were made by these noble individuals. Please don’t forget what personal sacrifices these jurors, their families, federal investigators, and others have made on behalf of the citizens of Illinois. A heartfelt “Thank You” from all of us.
    6) My children and grandchildren are also the beneficiaries of your actions. Thank you. And, thank you to former United States Senator Peter Fitzgerald for allowing this all to happen


  54. - Prospect - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 5:40 pm:

    Will George Ryan and Larry Werner now turn on the Daley family and other Chicago Polls for a lighter sentence and better FED prison locations? Talk about Pandora’s box!


  55. - Link - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:05 pm:

    In regard to Update 36#, the list missed Bill Scott…


  56. - southernilrepub - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:21 pm:

    Its important to note that we as Republicans can somewhat say we are trying to improve the specter of corruption. It was a Republican Senate and President that recommended Fitzgerald to go after Ryan and assoc. It would be in the best interest of Fitzgerald go hard and swift after Daniels, Blago, Daley.


  57. - southernilrepub - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:22 pm:

    correction of recommended to nominated and confirmed by Republican Senate and President


  58. - tistophone - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:28 pm:

    Looks like the repubs are nervous as evidenced by the many attmepts, on this blog, to spin today’s verdict away from Ryan and the many folks that benefited from repub corruption.


  59. - Old Elephant - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:30 pm:

    Grand Old Partisan is on-target.

    Any impact that this may have on the next election depends on what happens next. The only people who know that are the federal prosecutors, Rod Blagojevich and Judy Baar Topinka.

    Start with Topinka first — if she’s absolutely confident that the investigation of her office is finished, she has open field running. While partisans will try to convict her with guilt by association, the public will want to see some evidence and if there isn’t any, she doesn’t have to worry.

    Blagojevich has already ceded any advantage that this might have given him — “pay to play” and “public official A” are already inextricably linked to him and he won’t shake that. Best he can hope for is to muddy the waters and try to keep the campaign focused on other issues. Of course, you can never underestimate the unmitigated gall of this administration so I wouldn’t be surprised if they try to run against a “culture of corruption.” I hope they do. It will be a huge mistake — the media will eat them alive and they’ll only be reminding voters of their own shortcomings.

    If I were advising the Governor I’d tell him to repeat the same words over and over again: Healthcare and no tax increase.

    Ultimately, the feds hold the key on this issue. Given what we already know, it’s probably inevitable that someone within the Blagojevich administration is going to be indicted, it’s just a question of when and who it will be. Chances are they won’t indict the Governor before the election, but an indictment of either an administration official or a major contributor could be a huge problem. With the Ryan trial now out of the way, resources will be freed up to pursue other investigations.

    The conventional wisdom is that Fitzgerald wants to send a clear message that trading campaign contributions for political favors is a crime. If they really want to drive that point home, I imagine the prospect of nailing a sitting governor for “pay to play” is very appealing.

    This is all going to be very interesting to watch.


  60. - Little Egypt - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:31 pm:

    Ryan was JRT’s Lt. Gov for a long time and I think just from that relationship is why Winston & Strawn donated their time to defend Ryan. A noble gesture perhaps and personally I don’t think it will hurt W&S’s business at all. There’s a sick loyalty amongst politicians and I think the free defense was nothing but that. JRT can now sit back and say that he gave the best his firm had to Ryan and it still didn’t do any good.

    If I were Blago, I’d be taping myself at every political function and watch the tape several times to make sure I didn’t say anything that can be held against me. The guy is in BIG trouble now that Fitzgerald has sort of cleaned his plate. Fitz is still dealing with the GWBush/Cheney CIA thing but he obviously has a very capable staff he can draw on to work slow and steady to get their guy.

    And if this state is crazy and inept enough to elect Blago for another term, this may be the only way Pat Quinn will ever get to live in the mansion ’cause Blago won’t be around for his full 4 years.

    Someone said it earlier. Blago has NEVER governed becaue he hasn’t had the time. He has NEVER stopped campaigning.


  61. - Paul Simon Museum Guy - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 6:54 pm:

    GUILTY! Will the residents of Illinois now PLEASE wake up and do something?

    Earlier someone said Dan Walker wasn’t convicted of anything while in office. While that may be true, does it send a positive signal of what went on while he was governor? (He narrowly beat Paul Simon in the ‘72 gub primary BTW… what would Illinois have become if PS was elected.)


  62. - John - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 7:26 pm:

    It’s about time at least one of the politicians in this state got locked up. Now we need to go after Rod. The Illinois Democrats are just as bad as the Illinois Republicans and vice-versa. Sadly, as long as Chicago is part of Illinois, corruption will always be entrenched in Illinois politics. All hail Chicago… The toilet bowl of the Midwest!

    I’m not a cursing man, and I certainly don’t like to do it publicly. But that having been said, Chicago can go to hell!


  63. - ANON - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 7:42 pm:

    in terms of his legal defense, ryan got what he paid for.


  64. - Rex - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 7:51 pm:

    Ryan got the verdict he deserved. This renews my faith in our justice system. In my opinion, all his efforts against the death penalty were to make a good impression and win favor with the prison population, with whom I hope he will soon be spending some quality time.


  65. - Windy City - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 7:52 pm:

    Hey John, um, Ryan is from Kankakee, and I don’t think that any of the other indicted Governors hailed from Chicago. Nice try anyway - hick.


  66. - Jeff Trigg - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 7:54 pm:

    Paul Simon Museum Guy - that’s about impossible for voters to do since about 2/3 of the General Assembly will no competition on the ballot and it’s highly unlikely the rank and file Democrats will revolt against the corruption enabling dictatorship of Madigan and Jones. What did Paul Simon say or do about the anti-democratic election laws that keep political competition off the ballot and corruption going strong in Illinois?


  67. - Angelo Torres - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 8:16 pm:

    In response to Leigh, you are right, RMD is popular, and has on the whole done a good job as Mayor.
    HOWEVER, if you think that Degnan, Joyce etc (and yes they are more sophisitcated) aren’t in trouble on this you delusional.

    Victor Reyes is not exactly a person of high ethics or loyalty just ask former alderman Ray Frias. The Feds have Victor and can squeeze.
    Not just the run of the mill political hiring (yawn for Chicago but look at Fawell) but also drug dealing, gangs, big dirty contracts, and Hired Trucks is not over. Victor Reyes could bring down City Hall and he is destroying the good legacy of Mayor Daley.


  68. - Gregor - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 8:25 pm:

    For every commercial Rod plays of Judy dancing the Polka with George, Judy can run spots with Rod and Rezko, Rod & Wyma, Rod and Kelley, Rod and… you get the picture. Then she can run pictures of him with Sister Muhammad, etc. to show that besides being a sleaze, he’s also inept. I’d run clips of Rod saying ” I never met the woman, I didn’t know anything about her” with Clinton’s “I did not have…”

    If Rod wants to go to the mattresses with negative campaigning against Topinka, he is opening the door to scrutiny of his every foible and failure at the same time. Maybe it’s better he stay with the soft puppie and kittens soccer mom spots praising the yet-to-actually-happen programs he touts as his “accomplishments”.

    Somewhere out there in old files there is probably s picture or tape of representative or Congressman Rod and George Ryan (as SOS, Speaker, or Lt. Guv) both appearing at some state event. That will make a great background for a campaign spot.


  69. - ZC - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 8:35 pm:

    I agree with Grand Old Partisan that most people in the electorate are going to give Topinka the benefit of the doubt here.

    That said, anyone here who seriously thinks Topinka didn’t know _exactly_ what was up with George, back when he was Secretary of State, is suffering from some severe partisan delusion. Wake up. You can vote for Topinka if you hate Rod, but at least do it with open eyes. She can campaign as a reformer, and perhaps win as a reformer, but she is not and never will BE a reformer.

    The era of good government in Illinois will not be starting in 2008, whoever wins this race.


  70. - ZC - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 8:36 pm:

    Sorry, make that 2006.


  71. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 8:55 pm:

    This is like severe thunderstorm coverage.


  72. - These are our choices? - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 9:03 pm:

    Emil’s comments are truly sickening. I’m not surprised if he and Madigan and the rest of the old guard feel like George got a raw deal, but Emil could at least pretend to care about the raw deal that all of us taxpayers have gotten because of political corruption in this state.

    And here we get to elect a new governor in November after throwing this old one in jail, and the two candidates are basically just as sleazy as Jailbird George.

    Of course they have nowhere near the likability or political savvy so it all comes down to whether you think Rod might be reckless enough with Illinois’ finances to keep his no tax hike pledge at the same time he introduces all his ridiculous spending promises or whether you think Judy might at least provide a higher level of competence to state government, even if it comes with a tax increase.


  73. - Swani - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 9:04 pm:

    Blo-puffer-vich is next.


  74. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 9:33 pm:

    Seems kinda strange all the negative comments about Ryan. You would have thought he was just handed the office not elected. Someone voted for him. I want to here all the Ryan fans in Sangamon County who walked in parades and had his yard signs out. Funny they are quite right now. Hey boys and girls in the Sagamon County GOP, this is your boy, put your arms around him and show him some love. But make sure Tony says its OK to do so or your state jobs might get lost if and when your next favorite crook, JBT gets elected. Lets hear it Sangamon County GOP, we love George. We want you to think we love smaller govt., but please raise taxes cause we want more state workers and a raise.


  75. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 9:43 pm:

    Topinka and her goons had gotta be pretty nervous right about now


  76. - Gregor - Monday, Apr 17, 06 @ 9:57 pm:

    I want to exhume Paul Simon and draft him for the Governor’s race. He’d be cleaner than Judy and, even though dead, a more effective governor than Blago.


  77. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Apr 18, 06 @ 12:39 am:

    ZC is right, Topinka will not lose because of her ties to Ryan, but most folks who follow these insider issues will realize that Topinka is no different than Ryan and certainly no better than Blagojevich.

    Remember the thousands and thousands in free publicity she got because of Bright Start? That was based on the George Ryan model.

    Truthfully, most voters in Illinois are extreme cynics, and think all politicians are more or less crooked. Patrick Collins is wrong: it’s not that voters don’t care about corruption, they just can’t distinguish between the candidates on the issue, so they accept corruption the way they accept the Cubs won’t win the World Series this year.

    The reason it won’t have much of an impact on the election this year is that just 4% of voters rate corruption as their #1 issue, according to this respected NIU study.

    Topinka can talk about corruption until she’s blue inthe face, but voters say their top issues are:

    Education - 32%
    Jobs, Unemployment - 13%
    Health Care - 11%
    State Budget - 10%
    Taxes - 9%
    Gas/Utility Prices - 7%
    Crime - 4%
    Corruption - 4%
    Economy - 4%
    Homelessness/Poverty - 4%

    In other words, Topinka would do just as well focusing on homelessness.


  78. Pingback IlliniPundit.com » Blog Archive » Open Thread (4/18/06) - Tuesday, Apr 18, 06 @ 8:31 am:

    […] If you want to talk about the verdict, go here or here. […]


  79. - Anon - Thursday, Apr 20, 06 @ 5:52 pm:

    Why not pay elected officials similar salaries as to what top executives in the private sector are paid? If you are in charge of Illinois’ $53 billion budget like the Governor and legislature and made a similar salary to those running $53 billion dollar companies (a) it would attract much better people for the jobs and (b) would, by using market forces, end most temptations to engage in pay to play because (1) you would have a lot more to lose salary-wise and (2) most likely wouldn’t need the money. Instead, we chose to pay college coaches, school superintendents and others much higher salaries but expect better behavior from the legislature and the Governor. Let’s take away the financial hardship to doing what’s way beyond a full time job and let the market, rather than additional regulation, end the corruption.

    If we simply paid the Governor 75% of the salary of the highest paid public university collge coach and each legislator should get 50% of the coach’s salary - that would be sufficient to mark the salaries to the current market. We’d also get better football coaches at the U of I….


  80. - Truthful James - Friday, Apr 21, 06 @ 6:32 am:

    Anon:

    Do I hear you saying that, by comparison, an elected official should have the same sense of morality as a football coach.

    Are you implying that morality and professional responsibility are a functions of the amount of money you make?

    Boy, does that open a lot of trapdoors for the low income people!

    I’ve got a better idea. Public service used to be just that — a temporary sojourn for the benefit of the public. Now it is a career track to an early pension or two or three depending how artfully one has crafted a career. Let’s banish pensions for elected officials.


  81. - Walt Mc. - Monday, Apr 24, 06 @ 2:45 pm:

    Please hurry Aug. 4, i’l gladly drive him to Stateville, he has sooo many friends there.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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