One Less Illinois Gov. in Prison

M. Spencer Green/AP Photo

The state of Illinois will see one less governor behind bars today. Former governor George Ryan, 78, was released from federal prison after serving over five years for corruption.

Ryan, a Republican, left a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., five months early qualifying the felon for early release to a halfway house. He will now reside in Chicago at Salvation Army Freedom Center West Side of the City.

Ryan has been imprisoned since 2006 when he was convicted on 22 counts of fraud, racketeering, bribery, extortion and money laundering for accepting bribes in exchange for state licenses among other things.

The ex-governor's corruption charges also included making false statements to investigators and accepting gifts in return for actions while in office.

Ryan wasn't the first Illinois governor convicted. His successor Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, is in prison following his conviction on 17 counts of corruption that included trying to "sell" President Obama's vacant Senate seat.

Otto Kerner, who was governor from 1961 to 1968, was sentenced to three years in federal prison on charges of bribery, conspiracy, tax evasion and perjury. Kerner died of lung cancer a year after his release on May 9, 1976 at age 67.

Former governor Dan Walker was in office from 1973 to 1977, but in 1987 he was convicted of bank fraud and corruption.

Both Kerner and Walker sought presidential pardons after serving time in the big house. Kerner passed away in the midst of his request and Walker's pardon was denied by President Bill Clinton.

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