Guilty 22, Not Guilty 0
Wow, did I pick a time to start posting again. Don't even know where to start with this one. (And given that the story is posted everywhere, I won't bother posting links) Let me deal with what I think the fallout is from this one:
1. For those that say that nobody testified that they saw him take any money, remember that he was not charged with accepting bribes, that was the five dozen other people who got caught up in the license for bribes scandal. He was charged with racketeering and various derivative counts.
2. In essence, the clean sweep verdict means that the jury did not buy into ANY of the defense theories, and that they felt that this was a clear deviation from politics as it is supposed to be done.
3. Webb and Ryan quickly vowed that there will be an appeal, but as I have previously stated, I think that business considerations are going to play a big role in that decision. There are a number of Winston & Strawn laywers who are unhappy with the millions of dollars worth of free legal work that has gone into the case thus far. The prospect of millions more going into an appeal is not going to sit well with a lot of them.
4. I do think that it was very interesting that Webb based his comments about the appeal on the post-trial jury issues rather than anything that occurred during the trial proceedings themselves. Seems to be a rather flimsy hook to hang your hat on, but he's pretty damn good at what he does, so we'll see what shakes out.
5. Sentencing is scheduled for August 4th, and I believe that Ryan is going to be staring down at some real time. Among the considerations set forth in the federal sentencing guidelines are enhanced sentencing for violating the public trust. What that means is that Ryan could face a much bigger sentence than that faced by a private citizen.
6. I just got done doing a radio interview about who benefits from this verdict come November, Rod or Judy. My answer is that neither candidate is poised to seize the mantle of righteousness as the result of today's proceedings. Judy will be unavoidably linked to George and past Republican misdoings. Rod will be plastered with the allegations of pay to play that have dogged his entire tenure.
7. The upside of this mess? Maybe now there will be a sufficient impetus to pass HB4073, a Dan Hynes initiative which I introduced last year that would effectively end pay to play in Illinois. AllKids showed that legislation can move with blinding speed when there is the political will to do so, I would think that 22 guilty counts would give birth to that type of political will.
I'll post more later, but that gives you my thoughts as of now.
UPDATE - I was listening to the comments of the prosecutor, and thought they were the most fascinating moment yet. He said (a few different ways) that nothing makes them work harder than being lied to or finding out that documents were destroyed. These comments were delivered in such a way that they were not so much a reflection on the Ryan trial as they were a LOUD warning to anybody out there that is or may be the subject of a visit by the Feds. From the sound of the message, people better consider themselves warned.