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Ryan's Lawyers Finally Ask President for Clemency

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Lawyers for former Illinois Governor George Ryan finally submitted a request yesterday asking President George Bush to let their client out of jail.

When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Ryan’s appeal, one of his defense attorneys, another former Illinois governor himself, Jim Thompson said the defense team was running out of options.

THOMPSON: In my opinion the next appropriate step is to ask the president of the United States for executive clemency.

That was six months ago and a Department of Justice spokesman says the petition was not filed until yesterday. The only official way to file a petition for clemency is through the Pardon Attorney at the Justice Department. However, the president is free to pardon or commute the sentence of anyone, whether they’ve officially asked or not. One of Ryan’s attorneys would not comment on the delay. Another directed me to Governor Thompson. Thompson who is travelling has not returned repeated calls and emails for comment during the last week.

I’m Robert Wildeboer, Chicago Public Radio.

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