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Ryan trial is a freaking mess -UPDATED

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A federal judge announced Monday that she has dismissed two jurors from former Gov. George Ryan’s racketeering and fraud trial and added that she is still trying to determine whether the stalled jury deliberations can be restarted.

“I haven’t made any final decisions about whether we will be able to proceed,” U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer told reporters after dismissing the two jurors.

Pallmeyer said that if she decides to avoid a mistrial and push ahead, she plans to call the jurors back into the courtroom, give them a fresh set of instructions and start deliberations from scratch. The plan could add weeks to the trial, which is now in its sixth month.

And restarting the trial apparently would require replacing the two jurors with alternates - something Ryan’s attorneys oppose.

Pallmeyer said, however, that she wanted to go ahead with the trial if she felt that the jury would be able to deliberate fairly.

If we’re not heading for a mistrial, then the appeals of this decision could mean Ryan never serves a day in prison. Then again, federal defendants often have to serve time while awaiting appeal.

And the Tribune explains how it broke the story.

Reporters frequently interview jurors after a case ends and the jurors are dismissed from duty. In preparation for a verdict, Tribune reporter Ray Gibson was checking computer databases for information about the jurors. He was not looking for criminal histories but was interested in the jurors’ political affiliations.

On the first screen of links to records for one juror, Gibson came across a 1995 felony conviction for aggravated DUI. The charge indicated the man had prior DUIs as well.

Police reporter David Heinzmann then located court and criminal records for the man, and Gibson and federal courts reporter Matt O’Connor matched information from those records with the answers given by the juror on his jury questionnaire. By Wednesday night, it was clear to the reporters and their editors that the records indicated that it was the same man.

UPDATE: I don’t know how I missed this, but NBC5 reporter Phil Rogers is blogging the trial.

posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 8:16 am


  1. I hope few people are buying teh account on how and/or why the Tribune leaked the story on the jurors/liars Mr. Super Prosecutor allowed on the jury.
    Looks like the Dept. of Justice put these people on and saved them in case they needed to avoid a not guilty or hung jury situation.

    Anyone who has been around a federal prosecution, which is a whole of people in IL, know the G knows everything about everybody.

    Let;s quit pretending

    Comment by PerryMason Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 8:27 am

  2. If there were a mistrial, would Webb keep the case? A new trial could take another six months(not to mention some time to get under way) and the prosecution already knows his m.o. For that reason, maybe Ryan would hire new counsel.

    Comment by Amy Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 9:14 am

  3. I can’t imagine Webb walking away from this. He’s not a quiter. I know all of the rumors about $10 M in legal fees, attorneys losing money, Thompson taking heat, etc. But those are just rumors. These attorneys are professionals. How could they possibily bow out, now?

    I know a mistrial will drag this out several more months, but the feds have blown it. It is unavoidable, now. And I bet they do background checks, with the next jury.

    Comment by black and white Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 9:26 am

  4. I guess Winston & Strawn’s $10 plus million dollar tab for defending Ryan didn’t include any background checks on the jurors. Not like the Grisham books–ehh

    Comment by Gary Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 9:50 am

  5. How did the Chicago Tribune obtain the names of the jurors?

    Comment by Ravenswood Right Winger Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 10:02 am

  6. Perry Mason brings up a good point. This case has been making its way throught the system for several years. There have been dozens of convictions, and they finally are moving in on their greatest quarry. They are so close to their biggest pelt that they can taste it. Hundreds of interviews, tens of thousands of U.S. Attorney and FBI man hours put into this investigation, millions of taxpayer dollars and nearly 6 months of testimony. Can anyone really believe that the Feds ignored the 12 most important people to this endeavor. It takes nothing more than pluggin in the name and date of birth of the juror to get the info that is now common knowledge Come on! If a scrub researcher from the Trib can - in one afternoon - learn this information on the limited amount of information that has been publically available, should we believe that the Feds could not or have not done the same? Cook County State’s Attorneys do this every day for every single jury trial. The truth should come out about what the Feds knew and when they knew it.

    Comment by Turning the tables Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 10:04 am

  7. And why do we think Dan Webb also could not have done this?

    unless we are all thinking the Feds blew it?

    Comment by Pat collins Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 10:07 am

  8. Hey Pat, the answer is simple: Because Dan Webb does not have access to the law enforcment databases that the Feds could have used here. In 10 minutes the Feds could have gotten the infomation that is now front page news. By the way, aren’t you the same Pat Collins that is trying this case? Maybe you should be in court instead of blogging.

    Comment by Turning the tables Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 10:14 am

  9. Regarding Turning the Tables comment that a Tribune “scrub researcher” uncovered this information about the two juror’s previous criminal charges, I would have to disagree. Ray Gibson from the Chicago Tribune is a far cry from a “scrub researcher”. Ray is one of the best investigative reporters out there.

    My comment as an Illinois taxpayer is, “Judge Pallmayer, I would certainly hope and expect you to prosecute these two jurors that committed perjury under oath in your courtroom. The enormous legal cost to the Illinois taxpayers for their deliberate fraud and deception would require that they be held accountable and punished for their actions. If they are not punished, Judge Pallmeyer, you will be opening Pandora’s Box and setting a future legal precendent that it is now considered permissible in the Illinois court systems to lie under oath and commit fraud when it suits your purposes.”

    If I was a partner of Big Jim’s at Winston & Strawn, I would be livid that my legal firm’s financial faucet was turned on by Big Jim to fill the empty glass of one of his old friends. If Big Jim likes George so much, let it be Big Jim that invests his “own dime” to save George’s neck from the guillotine. Don’t make the other law partners at Winston & Strawn bear the financial burden for Big Jim’s poor choice of political friends.

    Comment by Beowulf Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 10:31 am

  10. Does anybody in his right mind not believe that Winston and $trawn with all its resources did not know everything about everybody in the Jury pool. All Dan Webb needed after any guilty verdict was to reveal the magic card with the jurrors’ names on one side and “Get Out Of Jail Free” on the other side. If the jurors acquited Ryan, the information would have been shredded at W&$.

    Come on babes.

    Comment by Truthful James Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 10:44 am

  11. The Sun Times reports that Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer will replace the two dismissed jurors with two alternates.

    Comment by sweetpea Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 3:38 pm

  12. I believe that James R. Thompson of Winston & Strawn, former Governor for 14 years, could have known and probably was aware of the background of these jurors. Does anyone believe that JRT does not still have connections that would have enabled his firm and Dan Webb in particular to find out this information? It does not become Dan Webb to act shocked by these revelations. I agree the two jurors should be held accountable. A mistrial or not???? Who knows what’s going to happen. But one thing is for certain. Ryan is a broken man, whether he is found guilty or not, whether he does time or not. He can no longer look forward to spending that campaign war chest because not much of it can be left, even though his legal fees are free. There is a HUGE cost that Ryan will pay regardless of the outcome. It’s a lose/lose situation for George, and EVERYONE knows it.

    Comment by LittleEgypt Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 8:59 pm

  13. It’s a lose/lose situation for George, and EVERYONE knows it.

    Yes, but he’s still got an outside chance at winning that Nobel peace prize for the great city of Kankakee :-0

    Comment by Six Degrees of Separation Tuesday, Mar 28, 06 @ 9:46 pm

  14. The one PROBLEM jurror was asked to leave because of a raised brow. She always confronted the truth with bias. Her behaviour was questionable in deliberations. She was a bully as well.

    They will deliberate, and a fair outcome will be handed down.

    Comment by SinkO da shippO Monday, Apr 3, 06 @ 11:50 am

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