A trial is scheduled to begin today for George Ryan, the former Republican governor of Illinois who is charged in a 22-count indictment with racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, lying to the FBI and tax fraud.
Ryan, 71, is accused of handing out state contracts and leases to political insiders. He has denied the charges.
Ryan and his co-defendant, Chicago businessman Lawrence E. Warner, are expected in court for jury selection.
The charges grew out of the federal government's Operation Safe Road, which initially focused on bribes exchanged for driver's licenses but over seven years expanded into an investigation of political corruption.