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CHICAGO — The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of former Illinois Governor George H. Ryan, Sr., and the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois decision denying his motion for retrial in a split 2-1 decision. Judge Diane Wood wrote the opinion for the majority, saying “the fact that the trial may not have been picture-perfect is, in itself, nothing unusual,” and noting that the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the Constitution does not guarantee a “perfect” trial. Judge Daniel Manion joined in affirming the lower court decisions. Ryan and co-defendant Lawrence E. Warner, who were convicted on fraud and racketeering charges in April 2006, appealed the jury’s verdict on grounds that jurors used outside legal materials in deliberations, that the dismissal of one juror was arbitrary, and that some evidence was erroneously excluded from the trial, among other things. “We conclude that the district court handled most problems that arose in an acceptable manner, and that whatever error remained was harmless,” the appeals court said in its decision. The charges stem from state contracts and leases that were steered by Ryan, when he was Illinois Secretary of State in the 1990s, to Warner, who was an unpaid advisor. The 74-page ruling included a dissent from Judge Michael Kanne, who said it was a “whopping understatement” to simply describe the trial as not “picture-perfect.” He based his dissent on the “dysfunctional jury deliberations,” saying that a “fair and just result was not achieved in this case.”

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