CHICAGO — He was known to a generation of state lawmakers as ""Doctor Don" — the lobbyist for the Illinois State Medical Society.
Donald Udstuen also was known as one of the smartest political strategists in Illinois — a key member of George Ryan's brain trust and an adviser to other top Republicans.
Within the next few days, though, Doctor Don is due to pay a house call on Ryan's racketeering and fraud trial as a prosecution witness against his friend, the former governor.
Ryan, 71, and lobbyist friend Larry Warner, 67, are charged in a 22-count federal indictment with racketeering, mail fraud and other offenses. Prosecutors say Ryan illegally steered state leases and contracts to Warner and other friends and got gifts and free vacations in return.
The two men say nothing they did was illegal.
The trial, now in its 11th week, came to an abrupt halt Tuesday when a juror came down with a fever and other jurors said they felt the start of symptoms as well.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer sent the jury home.
Prosecutors were hoping to have Udstuen on the stand as early as Tuesday.
They quote Udstuen as saying that Warner once told him that he was "taking care" of Ryan. They say that suggests Ryan was getting a share of the lobbying fees Warner got for landing state contracts for his clients — with Ryan's help.
Udstuen acknowledges he got a share of those fees. But Ryan didn't, his lawyers say.
Pallmeyer ruled that Udstuen may tell the jury about Warner's alleged claim that he was ""taking care" of Ryan. But he canít say he thinks that means he thinks Ryan got a cut.
"He (Udstuen) would acknowledge that he did not know if it actually happened," Ryanís chief defense counsel, Dan K. Webb, told Pallmeyer.
More than three decades ago, Udstuen was Gov. Richard B. Ogilvieís patronage chief — doling out state government jobs to Republican county chairmen and other Ogilvie supporters.
As such he worked closely with Ogilvie's personnel director, Alan Drazek.
After Ogilvie's 1972 defeat, Udstuen became the chief lobbyist for the medical society. He later was promoted and became a vice president.
Both Udstuen and Drazek were charged in the federal governmentís eight-year Operation Safe Road investigation of corruption when Ryan was secretary of state and later governor.
Udstuen pleaded guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to doctor his tax returns.
He admitted that he used Drazekís company, American Management Resources, to launder thousands of dollars in fees paid to him by Warner.
He also admitted taking payoffs to fix contracts at Chicago's Metra commuter rail service.
And he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in hopes of getting a break when sentenced.
Drazek pleaded guilty to laundering more than $381,000 in payments from Warner from 1991 through 1999, paying taxes on the money, taking a cut and passing the rest to Udstuen. He also is awaiting sentencing.