Ryan's Top Aide Gets Six and a Half Year Racketeering Sentence

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Former Gov. George Ryan's long-time top aide Scott Fawell was sentenced Monday to six and a half years in prison for a racketeering scheme in which state employees and taxpayer dollars were used to fuel campaigns.

The 46-year-old Fawell's voice broke with emotion as he apologized to his politically prominent family before U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer imposed the sentence.

Fawell was convicted of racketeering and other offenses at a seven-week trial in March. It was the biggest case to date in the five-year federal investigation of corruption under Ryan.

Pallmeyer rejected a request from Fawell's defense for a break on grounds that what he did has been common in Illinois politics for decades and no one told him he could be prosecuted for it.