George Ryan
12:21 pm
Tue December 21, 2010

Former Ill. Gov. Ryan to remain in prison

A federal judge has ruled that former Illinois Gov. George Ryan must remain in prison.

Ryan's attorneys want elements of his conviction tossed based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision curtailing anti-fraud laws - known as "honest services" laws.

Last week, Ryan's attorneys made an urgent plea for his release after his wife was hospitalized. Doctors have given Lura Lynn Ryan as few as three months to live. She's been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

According to one of  Ryan's attorneys, Andrea Lyon,  the decision not to release him from federal prison means he'll never see his terminally ill wife again.

"The bottom line is Mrs. Ryan's going to die, and she's never going see her husband again because she cannot travel," Lyon said.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ruled that Ryan must remain in prison.

The 76-year-old former governor has served three years of a 6 1/2-year sentence on convictions of racketeering, conspiracy, tax fraud and making false statements to the FBI.

Ryan attorney Jim Thompson promises a quick appeal to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Thompson says Ryan's attorneys are "very disappointed."