Well, well, well.
Ex-Gov Ryan Indicted (Chicago Sun-Times, Wednesday, December 17, 2003): Former Gov. George Ryan was charged Wednesday with running state government for the profit of his friends, family and himself, and with trying to cover up a bribes-for- licenses scandal that ultimately led to his indictment. The 22-count indictment alleges that for more than a decade, as secretary of state and then governor, Ryan took payoffs, gifts and vacations in return for letting associates profit from steering government contracts and leases. He was charged with racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, making false statements to investigators, tax fraud and filing false tax returns. "What we're alleging in the indictment is basically the state of Illinois was for sale," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.
People in this state had been wondering when, or if, the feds were going to move on this indictment. They've been sniffing around Ryan for years, now, indicting everyone he knows, as well as their spouses, and I guess they finally felt ready to move against him.
A pity, really. It would be nice for his term to be remembered for the way he went out, but instead it will be remembered for the way he went in (with the license for bribes scandal breaking everywhere) and what happened afterward.
The allegations are much more extensive than they had been indicating previously, though. Originally, it looked as though they were going to concentrate only on the license for bribes thing, and now it seems that they're charging him with being thoroughgoingly corrupt for many a long year before that.
It will be interesting to see what course this trial takes. Anyone with sense will be fleeing the jury pool as fast as they can; a 91-page indictment argues a trial that will take several weeks, at least. It's going to be filled with arcane financial data, testimony from former friends turned convicts turned turncoats, the press will be everywhere, and deliberations are likely to take quite some time all by themselves. On top of that, it will likely be incredibly difficult to find anyone in this state who doesn't already have a prejudiced opinion in the matter.
But still. Really sad.Posted by iain at December 17, 2003 07:47 PM