The curtain is about to fall on chances for freedom for ex-Governor George Ryan.
Short of a Presidential pardon, Ryan will remain in prison to serve his 6 1/2 year sentence for corruption. And that is just what is being considered by Ryan’s high-powered legal team led by ex-Gov. James Thompson.
Thompson is planning to ask President George W. Bush to commute Ryan’s sentence. This comes after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Ryan’s appeal and that of Ryan’s co-convicted ex-business partner Lawrence Warner.
The pair was convicted April 17, 2006, of multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, obstruction of justice, money laundering, and tax violation while Ryan served as Secretary of State.
Ryan is expected to be released from prison in 2013, but with a Bush pardon, his release could be right around the corner.
Speculation is high about whether or not Bush would consider granting a pardon to the disgraced ex-governor. Some claim that Republican ties are strong enough to encourage such an act, yet others believe there is little parity between Bush and Ryan politics. The most stark example of that is Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty, something that Bush clearly favors.
Ryan himself might be overlooked for a Bush pardon, but it could come as a favor to longtime Republican fundraiser Thompson.
Once requested, Bush will have until his last day in office, January 19, to make a decision as many other former presidents have done.
Thompson has taken the legal proceedings as far as he could, maintaining that because of some irregularities with the jury in the six-month trial for Ryan and his pal two years ago, the two did not receive a fair trial. Thompson’s opinion was bolstered by the sole dissent in the Court of Appeals and a minority opinion by Circuit Judges who ultimately refused to rehear Ryan’s case. But that argument failed to convince a federal appeals court to grant a new trial. And, it failed to sway the nation’s high court.
Last November U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens refused to allow Ryan to stay out of jail while his case was being appealed to the high court.
In April, U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement filed a brief stating that the U.S. Supreme Court should refuse to hear the appeal of convicted ex-Governor George Ryan.
The U.S. Solicitor General argues for the Government of the United States in front of the U.S. Supreme Court when the government is involved in a case.
Clement said complaints about jurors were misguided and a hearing was not warranted.
Ryan reported to prison in November 2007 to serve a six and one-half year sentence. He was initially sent to Oxford Institution, in Wisconsin, but was recently moved to Terre Haute Federal Institution in Terre Haute, Indiana. Under new regulations, of which Ryan was unaware at the time of his sentencing, Oxford could no longer care for inmates over 70 years of age. Ryan is 74.