Ryan Indictment

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

A major political shakedown in Springfield tarnishes an already wavering image of Illinois politicians. Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is charged with presiding over more than a decade of corruption.

As news of the indictment of former Gov. George Ryan spread, most said it was expected, and many Illinois residents say it's just politics as usual.

Roger Benson said, "Do I think he's innocent? I think he's a politician."

"I just feel it's a trend of the times. It's hard to find a politician who isn't in some sort of circle like that," said Andre Wiley.

"Do I think he's innocent or guilty? I think he's a politician," Benson added.

From mail fraud to conspiracy the allegations against ex Gov. George Ryan are numerous and serious. Guilty or not, analysts say the endless scandal surrounding Ryan's administration could have a lasting effect.

"If voters decide they're a bunch of scoundrels it could discourage voting," said Bob Evans.

Experts say Ryan's indictment could be especially harmful to republicans all the way up to the president.

"At least it seems it gives democrats a boost and it's a setback for republicans. I don't think there's any doubt about that," said Evans.

The stateline has never seen the degree of political corruption alleged in the Ryan case, but Rockford's mayor says it's foolish to think it couldn't happen here.

"So anytime we get a hint that there's something wrong, we go after it and investigate it as hard as we can because we want that public trust. We don't want to be damaged by something like what happened to the state," said Mayor Doug Scott.

Ryan has not commented on the 22-count indictment. He's expected to appear in court in the coming weeks. Ryan's chief defense counsel Dan Webb says he is confident Ryan "will be exonerated and a jury will find him not guilty of all charges."

Illinois house republican leader Tom Cross says he doesn't believe the charges against Ryan will hurt the GOP during the upcoming election cycle.


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