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Do-over! Ryan Jury Starts From Scratch

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The jury at former Illinois governor George Ryan’s racketeering and fraud trial will begin deliberations from scratch today. The judge installed two alternates to replace the two jurors she dismissed on Monday, after the Chicago Tribune raised questions about their backgrounds.

Attorneys for George Ryan and co-defendant Larry Warner filed a motion for a mistrial. But U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer refused. She said a mistrial would be an irreversible decision, but pressing on with deliberations was at least progress.

Pallmeyer said that despite the amount of time and money a new trial would take, speed and economy were not her goals. “My number one goal is fairness,” she said. She said she’d entertain another motion for a mistrial if she came to believe the deliberations do not continue fairly with the two new jurors.

Judge Pallmeyer told jurors to throw out their deliberations of the past two weeks. They can’t use notes, charts or anything else they’ve made as part of the process. She then re-read the 148 pages of jury instructions.

Finally, Pallmeyer told jurors to ignore all press attention, asking them firmly not even to pick up a newspaper. “And I know some of you like to do the crosswords,” she added, but said if anyone wanted puzzles from the papers, she’d provide them.

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