George Ryan Trial, Part 3
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I should apologize that I have not written anything after attending several Ryan trial sessions. Unfortunately, after the testimony of Scott Fawell, Ryan’s campaign manager, there was nothing of interest to report. After one such session I talked to another faithful observer of the proceedings. “Was it me,” I asked, “or was today much ado about nothing?” Her response: “It isn’t you!”
In today’s trial, a juror called in to say that there was a medical emergency in her family and it delayed the start of the trial by over two hours. Not that there wasn’t plenty for opposing counsels to bicker about. There were two motions, two threatened motions, and arguments galore with both sides repeating themselves.
It is amazing to me that Dan Webb, the defense counsel, continues to stumble over his words, making it appear that he doesn’t know what he is going to say next. This is in stark contrast to lead prosecutor Collins, who appears to be calm all the time and pushes forward without a break with his argument. Unfortunately for Collins, his arguments do not always carry enough weight to overcome the defense’s objections, but he does appear to be well prepared with his presentation, which overall could be telling with the jury. While Webb seems to be nitpicking everything that the prosecution presents, Collins does the same thing, but outside the view of the jury.
Today’s Chicago Tribune stated that “PROSECUTORS BLAST WEBB” at the top of the Metro section. Of course that required the judge to admonish the jury that only testimony given by witnesses is to be considered in determining guilt or innocence. And as a cautious judge often does, this judge went over again all the charges that had been previously put to the jury in this case.
In this morning’s argument, they spent two hours back and forth over one minor question that has very little to do with the guilt or innocence of the defendant Ryan. Collins informed the judge that he was concerned over the fact that while they initially told the jury and expected the trial to go on for 4 months, he was now concerned that it could go on for much longer. Of course if Webb would quit objecting to the leading nature of questions, which only delays the trial, we might be able to get some testimony.
There was one witness for the prosecution today. It was his 4th day on the stand for testimony that should have only taken one day. He testified that with Ryan’s knowledge, the “Campaign For Ryan” used state employees and resources for campaign work so that Ryan’s campaign funds would not be utilized. He also outlined how Ryan helped to funnel some money to his daughters from payoffs and donations. The daughters continually appear with their mother in the front row. It makes me wonder why they would show up in court and have their integrity be called to question for taking money they knew was illegal for work they did not perform. There was testimony of how Ryan’s campaign manager Scott Fawell was given the highest paid job in state government by Ryan after his successful election.
It is clear from the testimony thus far, despite Dan Webb’s attempts to show that Ryan was above the fray, that there were political payoffs for donations on a monumental scale with Ryan’s tacit approval and knowledge.