George Ryan’s legal bills became an issue in his corruption trial Monday. The powerful legal firm of Winston and Strawn is defending the former governor for free. Monday, the defense wanted to tell the jury about the arrangement. The prosecution objected.
Eight weeks into a trial that may take another three months, the legal bills for George Ryan’s defense have topped $10 million. The jury doesn’t know that — at least they’re not supposed to — but Ryan’s lawyers think the jury should know that Ryan is not paying for his defense, lest they figure that the former governor has huge piles of cash to pay for a talented and very expensive legal team.
George Ryan’s lawyers are representing him for free, and the cost of that representation thus far has cost the law firm of Winston and Strawn more than $10 million.
That figure comes from Winston and Strawn’s chairman, Jim Thompson, the former governor, long-time friend and political ally of George Ryan. Thompson has told Crain’s Chicago business that his firm doesn’t shy away from tough cases.