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George Ryan trial starts today

Former Gov. George Ryan (state photo)

By IL Public Radio / KWMU / AP

Springfield, Ill. – Jury selection is set to begin this morning (Monday) in the trial of former Illinois Governor George Ryan.

Ryan is accused of doling out state contracts and leases to political allies. The charges grew out of the federal Operation Safe Road investigation, which initially focused on bribes exchanged for drivers licenses.

Over seven years, it expanded into a full-blown investigation of political corruption when Ryan was secretary of state and later governor.

Ryan denies the charges and predicts he will be acquitted.

Among the 22 charges lobbyist Larry Warner and Ryan face are racketeering, mail fraud, and lying to federal agents. It's estimated the case could last as long as six months.

To hear a story from NPR's David Schaper, as aired on Morning Edition, click here.

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