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Corruption Chronicles

George Ryan Trial, Part 1

The second day of the testimony of Scott Fawell, Ryan’s campaign manager and chief of staff, began much more sedate than the first (not attended by this observer). Fawell had been cautioned by Judge Pallmeyer to limit his responses to direct answers and to avoid the theatrics that he had shown during his first day of testimony. The crowd was also much different than the first day. There was hardly anybody left at the end of the day. People entered and left the courtroom with regularity, but many more left than entered. Initially the case had been staged in the extra large courtroom on the 25th floor and today the case was held in Judge Pallmeyer’s usual courtroom at 2119.

Conversations overheard in the hall during breaks indicated that the testimony was more of the same and boring. Outlined by Fawell were various gambling and basketball junkets taken by Ryan and Fawell that were paid for by people to whom Ryan had helped steer state contracts. Former US Attorney, and current defense counsel, Dan Webb continued to object and interrupt the testimony, but it was observed that the objections had little effect on the testimony as the story of favors for perks came out. It was observed that all of the people attending the trial could see that what Ryan did was illegal and, for him, business as usual.

It came to mind that former Chicago Mayor Daley once said that if he couldn’t hire family, what was the purpose of running for office? I guess this philosophy carried throughout all levels of government, at least in Illinois. It is a strange indictment of serving in public office and we can wonder if there is any elected public official that is exempt from this form of quid pro quo.

Tuesday is an off day for the jury, but the trial will resume on Wednesday October 5.


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