Jurors chosen for former Illinois governor’s racketeering trial
CHICAGO – A jury was chosen Tuesday for former Gov. George Ryan’s racketeering and fraud trial, and lawyers got ready for opening statements Wednesday morning.The 12 members and six alternates, selected after eight days of interviews with potential jurors, were to be sworn in before the opening statements at the federal trial.Ryan, 71, is charged with racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, lying to FBI agents and tax fraud. Also charged in the 22-count indictment is a lobbyist and friend, Larry Warner.Ryan is accused of allowing Warner to steer lucrative state contracts and leases to his clients when Ryan was secretary of state from 1991 to 1999.Both men insist they did nothing illegal.Federal prosecutors allege the Ryan administration doled out millions of dollars to political insiders, resulting in charges being brought against 79 people, including many state employees.Ryan’s former chief of staff, Scott Fawell, is serving a 6 1/2-year sentence. Prosecutors have said Fawell is scheduled to be the first witness against Ryan and could be on the stand as long as three weeks.Ryan was elected secretary of state in 1990, served two four-year terms and was elected governor in 1998. But he retired after just one term as the scandal grew.Vail, Colorado
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