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Corruption Chronicles

George Ryan Trial, Part 8

Some fireworks erupted in court on Tuesday. Lead prosecutor Patrick Collins accused defense attorney Dan Webb of impugning the integrity of prosecutor Levin and FBI agent Ruebenson. Webb suggested, through several thinly veiled references, that Collins and Ruebenson had told a witness what to say in order for the witness to get a better deal during sentencing for income tax evasion.

I also observed that Warner’s defense attorney, Ed Genson, also made similar suggestions and insinuated that the witness fabricated his testimony at the behest of the government. Judge Pallmeyer agreed with the government and settled the disagreement with a mild admonishment that it was unethical to make these types of veiled allegations without any offer of proof. Webb and Gensen pleaded innocent to the charges. Collins indicated that the damage had been done. Judge Pallmeyer stated that further such transgressions would not be tolerated.

Today, Judge Pallmeyer made some definitive rulings rather that taking the middle of the road approach. Good for her! I talked to another observer during the many breaks (it appears that Pallmeyer for one reason or another does not let the jury sit for testimony much longer than 1-2 hours at a time) regarding preconceived ideas. While the jury is selected with the understanding that they will listen to the facts and base their decision only on those facts, I cannot help but think whether the jury had an idea of guilt or innocence before they started the trial. I wonder what percentage of people when asked “Is there corruption in state government?” would answer “Yes.” I am guessing about 95% and the other 5% just didn’t hear the question.


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