[JURIST] Former Illinois Governor George Ryan [JURIST news archive] headed to federal prison Wednesday morning to serve a 6 1/2-year sentence [JURIST report] on corruption charges after the US Supreme Court on Tuesday denied [AP report] Ryan's request to remain free on bail while he appeals his conviction, affirming the decision [PDF text; JURIST report] of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Ryan made the 255-mile journey to the correctional facility in Wisconsin with his family and with what he describes as a "clear conscience," once again asserting his innocence on all charges.
Ryan's trial began in 2005, and in 2006 a jury found him guilty [JURIST reports] on multiple counts of corruption and fraud [indictment, PDF] in connection with a bribes-for-licenses scandal that occurred during Ryan's term as Illinois Secretary of State. Ryan made national headlines and won praise in some quarters in January 2003 when, just before leaving office, he commuted the executions of all Illinois inmates then on death row [CNN report; Ryan speech]. A lower court judge last month ordered Ryan to report to prison by November 7 [JURIST report]. AP has more.