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Fawell offers insider's view
A noticeably less cocky and sarcastic Scott Fawell, testifying for a second day Monday at former Gov. George Ryan's trial, provided a window for jurors into the nitty-gritty world of Illinois politics and the privileges of power.
Fawell, chief of staff when Ryan was secretary of state, testified how he tried to please two Ryan friends, co-defendant Lawrence Warner and lobbyist Al Ronan, by splitting up a multimillion-dollar state contract so "everybody was happy."
Ryan later "annoyed" Warner by intervening for a third friend, lobbyist Ron Swanson, whom Ryan wanted cut in on the same deal, Fawell said.
Fawell also testified that he told Ryan he had arranged for some state employees to be paid by the House Republican Campaign Committee for their work on more than a dozen House races in the 1996 election, even though they had remained on the public payroll.
"What did he say in response?" Assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick Collins asked.
"I don't want to hear about it," said Fawell, quoting Ryan.
On Monday jurors saw a decidedly different Fawell than when he testified on Thursday. His tone was serious and he skipped the wisecracks and asides he seemed to relish Thursday.
Fawell's lawyer, Jeffrey Steinback, later said his client consciously changed his behavior on the witness stand after reading newspaper accounts that described his appearance last week as brash and cocksure.
"He didn't want to appear to be obnoxious or smart-alecky," said Steinback, who talked to Fawell over the weekend. "On second reflection, I think he's decided that's not how he wants to be perceived."
Ryan and Warner are on trial on charges that the former governor took cash, gifts and vacations for himself and relatives in return for steering state contracts and leases to Warner and other friends.
On Monday, prosecutors alleged that among the perks Warner arranged for Ryan was a May 1995 junket to Disney World and a Chicago Bulls playoff game in Orlando.
Fawell said he went along on the trip from Chicago on a private plane of big-dollar contributor Richard Parrillo, a friend of Ryan and Warner.
Prosecutors also placed in evidence a photo from the trip of Ryan, Warner, Fawell, Parrillo and two others in front of the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
In a lengthy squabble outside the jury's presence, lawyers for Ryan and Warner tried to strike the testimony about the Florida trip, disputing the contention by prosecutors that Warner had arranged the flight at Ryan's request.
At a sidebar hearing, Ryan's chief lawyer, Dan Webb, moved for a mistrial, saying prosecutors were trying to "dirty up" Ryan with an image of jetting about with high-rolling businessmen.
Collins also questioned Fawell at some length about a dozen trips he took with Ryan to riverboat casinos in Illinois and Iowa and Ryan's habit of tipping waiters, bellhops and card dealers from $5 to $50 at a time.
Fawell testified that after receiving a photo of Ryan at a craps table he warned Ryan, then contemplating a run for governor, to stop gambling at Illinois riverboats for political reasons. Ryan curtailed his gambling in Illinois and instead took a couple trips to Las Vegas, Fawell said.
Fawell recounted how he tried to please two Ryan friends vying for a lucrative contract to convert the secretary of state's office to digital driver's licenses.
Competing against Warner, who lobbied for Viisage Technology, was Ronan's wife, Catherine Adduci, a representative of Unisys. Fawell said he was close friends with Ronan, playing golf as many as 50 times a year with him at Ronan's expense.
Fawell tried to work out a compromise so that Viisage would take the lead on the deal and Unisys would handle the hardware, but ultimately it didn't pan out and Viisage won the contract outright.
"We were trying to have a marriage," Fawell said. "That way, everybody was happy. Al would get something; everybody would get something."
Fawell testified how he marshaled secretary of state employees to help in the political campaigns of Bruce Clark, a Ryan in-law; Fawell's mother, former state Sen. Beverly Fawell (R-Glen Ellyn); and the pivotal 1996 House races in a bid to keep the chamber under Republican control.
Fawell said Ryan personally assured him of the office's support for his mother's campaign in 1994 and announced an express driver's license facility for Wheaton while campaigning for her.
In the 1996 campaign, Fawell said he arranged with two top aides to then-House Speaker Lee Daniels (R-Elmhurst) to have about a dozen and a half state employees be paid almost a combined $100,000 by the House Republican Campaign Committee for campaign work they performed while on the public payroll.
Fawell also talked of how he won Ryan's support to back a lobbying-reform bill in order to fend off likely criticism from then-state Treasurer Patrick Quinn before he had even announced his challenge to take on Ryan in his 1994 re-election for secretary of state.
Fawell said Ryan once asked to see a section of the master list to determine how many favors the secretary of state's office had handed out to then-Senate President James "Pate" Philips (R-Wood Dale).
The trial doesn't resume until Thursday because of the Rosh Hashanah Jewish holiday.