Lawyers for former governor George Ryan have filed an emergency motion asking that he be released from prison to be at his wife's side.
Lura Lynn has Stage 4 cancer in her lungs, ribs and liver. She has elected to undergo both radiation and chemo, and her treatments started last month.
In a court filing Wednesday, Ryan's legal team said Lura Lynn was admitted to intensive care in Kankakee, Ill., because she's in septic shock and the family has been called to her bedside.
"Mrs. Ryan's condition is what I would call very grave. The doctors told me this morning that she had septis, which is an infection of the blood," said Ryan's attorney Jim Thompson.
Given Lura Lynn's worsening medical condition, her husband's legal team filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals 7th Circuit asking that the former governor be released from federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., pending the appeal of his conviction.
If that is not approved, they ask that Ryan be released on recognizance to be with his wife during daytime hours and then remanded to the Kankakee County jail each night.
They've also asked the Bureau of Prisons to permit Ryan a limited 'furlough' to be with his wife.
The Bureau of Prisons, through the warden at Terre Haute where Ryan is serving his time, could choose to grant Ryan a brief period of supervised release. Those types of family-emergency furloughs don't last very long, but they have been granted.
"He is obviously highly distraught. He is there. She is there. He doesn't know whether he's going to get to see her, or whether she can hang on for much longer," Thompson said.
Mrs. Ryan's frail health has underscored the legal fight. And she has expressed her feelings in the past.
"I miss him a great deal. I really do," Mrs. Ryan said recently as she teared up.
That emotion was felt in Kankakee Wednesday night at a local watering hole where residents see both sides of the legal battle.
"A lot of people say why should he be any different than anybody else? But I'm just saying I think it was just politics as usual, and he was just one of the unfortunate ones," said George Sianis, Kankakee resident.
"I would want to be with my loved ones at a time like this, but I doubt anyone would let me out I was in prison to spend time with them," said Jennifer Jensen, Kankakee resident.
Ryan's attorneys said the court has asked the government to respond the emergency motion by Friday at 10:00 a.m.