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CHICAGO � Former Republican Illinois Governor Jim Thompson, now an attorney at Winston & Strawn in Chicago, is for the moment leading the charge on an appeal sought by another ex-Illinois governor, Republican George Ryan, who was convicted last April in federal court on fraud and racketeering charges. Thompson, former chairman of his firm, led the Chicago press conference this week at which he announced Ryan would appeal a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming the guilty verdict by a jury in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois. Thompson said in an interview that he’s not taking over the case for Winston & Strawn litigator and chairman Dan Webb, who led Ryan’s defense during the trial, but rather simply stepping in while Webb prepares for three upcoming trials. “They sent in the junior lawyer,” Thompson said wryly. Thompson will be working with colleague Raymond Mitchell on the appeal brief and still expects Webb and attorney Bradley Lerman to play a role in the overall case. Ryan will petition for an rehearing en banc by the 7th Circuit on the merits of the case and, if unsuccessful, ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, Thompson said. The 7th Circuit in a 2-1 split decision earlier this week, said the lower court trial may not have been “picture-perfect,” but was handled in an “acceptable manner.” The team hasn’t decided yet who will argue before the 7th Circuit if their petition is granted, Thompson said. The firm has spent millions on representing Ryan over the past four years. Ryan at first hired Webb as a paying client and then paid from a legal defense fund when his personal money ran out. The firm took the case pro bono when the fund ran out, Thompson said.

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