[JURIST] Former Illinois Governor George Ryan [JURIST news archive] on Friday issued his first public apology [text] for the crimes that resulted in his imprisonment. Ryan's apology comes in the wake of last week's arrest [JURIST report] of current Governor Rod Blagojevich [official website] on corruption charges. In a letter that will be added to his clemency petition filed recently with the White House, Ryan wrote:
I want to make things right in my heart with God, with my family, and with those that I have hurt. As a former public official, a husband, a father, and a grandfather, I apologize. Even though I cannot undo my mistakes, I hope I can restore some faith in your hearts and minds by opening up and sharing these thoughts. And even though it took time for me to come to this place, in the end my goal is to do the right thing, no matter how tardy or flawed.
Ryan has asked President George W. Bush to commute his sentence [Chicago Tribune report] to time served.
Ryan was sentenced last year and jailed [JURIST reports] on corruption 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 [CNN report; speech transcript] of all Illinois inmates then on death row.