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A federal appeals court in Chicago has refused a request by imprisoned former Ill. Gov. George Ryan that all the court's judges rehear his appeal seeking an earlier release from prison.

A three-sentence statement Monday from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the request is denied. It offers no explanation.

Three appellate judges in August rejected arguments that Ryan's 2006 convictions for corruption should be tossed because prosecutors never proved he took a bribe. The court currently has 10 active judges with one vacancy.

The 78-year-old Republican is nearing the end of his 6 1/2-year sentence. His release was scheduled for July 2013, but Ryan's attorneys say he qualifies for a work-release program that will allow him to leave the Terre Haute, Ind., prison in February.

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