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Federal appeals court upholds fraud conviction of Illinois ex-governor Ryan

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Tuesday upheld [PDF text] the conviction of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan [defense website] on fraud and corruption charges, ruling that the district court judge acted properly when she replaced two jurors after it was discovered they had concealed their criminal backgrounds. Ryan may now begin his 6 1/2 year prison sentence [JURIST report]. Co-defendant Lawrence Warner, who was convicted and sentenced to 3 1/2 years for his role in the fraud, also had his sentence affirmed.

Ryan's trial began in 2005, and in 2006, a jury found him guilty [JURIST reports] on multiple counts of corruption and fraud [indictment, PDF] in connection with a bribes-for-licenses scandal that occurred during Ryan's term as Illinois Secretary of State. Ryan made national headlines and won praise in some quarters in January 2003 when just before leaving office he commuted the executions of all Illinois inmates then on death row [CNN file report; Ryan speech]. The Chicago Tribune has more.

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