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Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Former governor on trial in graft case

September 29, 2005

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— The biggest corruption trial in Chicago in decades opened Wednesday with a federal prosecutor launching a blistering attack on former Gov. George Ryan, saying he betrayed the public's trust by taking cash and gifts to help insiders land lucrative state contracts.

"The fix was in Illinois government," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Zachary Fardon.

The verbal pounding brought Ryan defense attorney Dan K. Webb to his feet to demand a mistrial the minute Fardon sat down. The request was denied.

Webb later disparaged the prosecution's case, saying there was no evidence to support it.

Ryan, 71, is accused of giving a lobbyist friend, Larry Warner, free rein to steer contracts to his clients in exchange for gifts and favors during Ryan's term as Illinois secretary of state in the 1990s. Ryan faces 18 corruption counts, including conspiracy and fraud. Warner, a co-defendant, faces 12 counts.

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