UPI, Chicago Tribune fail to identify disgraced ex-governor, lobbyist as Republicans


In an August 21 article on the rejection of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's appeal for a new trial on fraud and corruption charges, United Press International and the Chicago Tribune failed to identify Ryan as a Republican.

By contrast, the Associated Press identified Ryan as a Republican in its report on the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, which upheld the convictions of Ryan and his lobbyist associate Lawrence Warner on 18 counts of corruption and racketeering charges.

Media Matters for America has documented other recent examples of media outlets omitting the party affiliation of Republican officials who have been convicted of a crime or are under investigation or indictment.

From UPI's August 21 report:

A 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel Tuesday rejected former Illinois Gov. George Ryan's appeal for a new trial on fraud and corruption charges.

The 2-1 decision clears the way for the 73-year-old ex-governor to begin serving a 78-month sentence he received after a six-month trial last year, WLS-TV, Chicago, reported.

The Chicago Tribune said Ryan's legal team may file another appeal with the full 11 judge court.

"We conclude that the district court handled most problems that arose in an acceptable manner, and that whatever error remained was harmless," Judge Diane Wood wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel. "We therefore affirm the convictions."

Two jurors were removed during Ryan's federal trial because they had not disclosed criminal backgrounds.

Ryan was convicted of corruption for handing out state contracts to co-defendant Larry Warner and other friends in return for gifts, trips and other kickbacks.

Warner was sentenced to nearly 42 months in prison.

From the Chicago Tribune's August 21 article:

The legal team for former Gov. George Ryan pledged this afternoon to seek another appeal after a federal appellate court this morning affirmed his sweeping fraud and corruption convictions.

In a crushing legal blow to the former governor, a three-judge panel from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled 2-1 today that Ryan received a fair trial last year despite a series of juror controversies.

In earlier allowing the former governor to remain free pending the appeal, the court had warned that Ryan and co-defendant Lawrence Warner would have to report to prison within 72 hours if -- as happened today -- they lost their appeal. Ryan faces a 6.5-year sentence in prison.


"No court anywhere has ever deprived a defendant of his life and liberty under these circumstances," [former governor and Ryan attorney James] Thompson said, alleging that the verdict was unfair because two jurors were replaced during deliberations.

In its 2-1 decision this morning, the three-judge panel found that U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer acted within her authority when she replaced the jurors after the Tribune revealed they had failed to disclose information about their criminal backgrounds.


Thompson said Ryan will now ask the full 7th Circuit -- a group of 11 judges -- to review the three-judge panel's decision. He said Ryan would also appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Ryan was convicted in April 2006 on charges that as secretary of state and governor, he doled out sweetheart deals to co-defendant Warner and other friends and used state resources and employees for political gain.

Warner's conviction also was affirmed today.

Warner, who was sentenced to almost 3.5 years in prison, had also been allowed to remain free while the appeal was pending.

Thompson said Ryan was disappointed by the decision but said he is a "strong guy."

By contrast, the AP did identify Ryan as a Republican:

A federal appeals court upheld former Gov. George Ryan's racketeering and fraud conviction Tuesday and refused to grant him a new trial in the biggest political scandal to rock Illinois in decades.

Attorneys on both sides were left trying to determine if the 73-year-old former governor, once the state's most powerful Republican, would now have to report to prison immediately.

Ryan was convicted last year of racketeering conspiracy, fraud and other offenses for taking payoffs from political insiders in exchange for state business while he was Illinois secretary of state from 1991 to 1999 and governor for four years after that. Prosecutors said he had steered state contracts and leases to insiders and used tax dollars in his political campaigns.

In his appeal, Ryan's attorneys had argued that the jury's deliberations were flawed.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer had replaced two jurors with alternates after deliberations in the case had already started, and the defense said unauthorized documents brought into the jury room poisoned the deliberations.

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Chicago Tribune, UPI
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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