A federal appeals court has granted bail to former Gov. George H. Ryan, allowing him to remain out of prison while he appeals his racketeering and fraud sentence.

The decision by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was issued without explanation on Tuesday.

Ryan, 73, was convicted in April of steering lucrative state contracts and leases to lobbyists and friends and using state employees and tax dollars to operate his political campaigns.

U.S. District Judge Rebecca L. Pallmeyer had refused to grant bail to Ryan while he is appealing his 6 1/2 year federal prison sentence.

But the appeals court overruled her and said that Ryan may remain free while he is appealing his conviction. He had been due to report to prison Jan. 4.