U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday that he may ask President George Bush to commute the prison sentence of former Gov. George Ryan. Durbin told reporters at the Statehouse that he would not ask that Ryan be pardoned.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Tuesday that he may ask President George Bush to commute the prison sentence of former Gov. George Ryan.
Durbin told reporters at the Statehouse that he would not ask that Ryan be pardoned. He also said neither the president nor Ryan's lawyers have contacted him.
Ryan is serving a federal prison sentence for corruption in office.
Durbin said he has served on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission with former First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan. He said she spoke to him very emotionally about a year ago about her husband's imprisonment.
At the time, Lura Lynn Ryan "talked about what it meant to her and her family," Durbin said. He added that Lura Lynn Ryan "has not been calling me beyond that."
Durbin talked about the former governor after being asked about it at a news conference held to discuss congressional issues. He said he has not decided if he will send a letter to the president.
Still, he said, Ryan has paid a price for his crimes.
"His family name has been damaged," Durbin said. "He has, at an advanced moment of his life, been removed from his family.He has lost the economic security which most people count on at his age (because of lost pension benefits), and he is separated from his wife at a time when she is in frail health. To say that he has paid a price for his wrongdoing -- he certainly has."
"The question is," Durbin continued, "whether continued imprisonment is appropriate at this point."
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