From the Chicago Tribune
Prosecutors of former Gov. George Ryan asked today for permission for the father of six children who died in a fiery crash traced to corruption under Ryan to testify at his sentencing hearing next week.If you want to read the horrifying story of the Willis family, go here. Scott Willis and his wife Janet have an amazing faith in God. God bless them both.
The request was one of several issues discussed at a brief meeting between prosecutors, defense attorneys and a federal judge in U.S. District Court, Chicago, to deal with disagreements before Ryan's sentencing, scheduled for next Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick Collins signaled that Rev. Duane "Scott" Willis was seeking to address the court.
Six of Willis' nine children died in a fiery crash in Wisconsin in 1994 when a chunk of metal fell from a truck, striking the family's van and rupturing the gas tank. The trucker was an unqualified driver who received his commercial license by bribing an official in then-Secretary of State Ryan's office.
"Rev. Willis was a victim [of Ryan's corruption] in the sense that he was entitled to a good faith investigation" of the accident, Collins said.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer did not immediately rule on the issue. She asked Ryan's attorneys to submit their objection in writing.
Prosecutors proved at trial that Ryan gutted the secretary of state's inspector's general office in the 1990s.
Ryan served as secretary of state from 1991-99 before taking office as governor.
A jury found in April that during much of his term as secretary of state, Ryan doled out state leases and contracts to an inner circle of cronies, including his co-defendant, Lawrence Warner, who also was found guilty.
Though Ryan's exact sentencing range has not been released publicly, several sources familiar with the matter have said he faces 6 to 8 years in federal prison.
Pallmeyer has the ultimate discretion in sentencing.
Bradley Lerman, one of Ryan's defense attorneys, objected to Willis testifying at the sentencing hearing, suggesting that he send a letter to Pallmeyer instead.
Collins explained that Willis had requested that prosecutors ask Pallmeyer to allow him to speak at sentencing.
The prosecutor said that Willis would be the only witness for their side.
As for Ryan, of we had true justice in this country, George Ryan would be put in a van and then set on fire. He obviously has no conscience, for he ran for and was elected Governor in 1998 four years after what happened to the Willis family. Ryan's firey death would be a message to all the corrupt politicians and public officials out there. That there is consequences for their acts. It will never happen for these same corrupt bastards make our laws and rule our courts. They will never let it happen to one of their own.
Hope you like hell George Ryan. That's where you're going after you die.
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