Legal battle heats up over contested Senate seat - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Legal battle heats up over contested Senate seat

Republican Terry Roland was all smiles following Tuesday night's preliminary vote voiding the election he lost to Democrat Ophelia Ford.

"Thank the lord, you know, this is great - this is the will of the people," he said last night.

Tonight, Ford is celebrating.

U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald issued a temporary restraining order barring the state Senate from taking a final vote on Thursday.

"I am pleased with the decision," said Ford by phone. "I didn't see why the Senate wouldn't wait for all the reports to be in. I will be at work tomorrow representing my continuants, including Terry Roland."

"Yes, we're happy tonight," said Joe Ford.

Meantime, Republicans are shocked.

"There is no case law we could find that would allow a federal judge to intervene in the business of the state legislature," said Bill Gianni, of the Shelby County Republican Party.

He also questions the judge's alleged ties to the Ford family.

"It's common knowledge that Judge Donald has a long-standing relationship with the Ford family and because of that, the right thing for her to do would be to recuse herself from this case," said Gianni.

"Well, I think the Republican Party needs to back off of this," said Joe Ford. "We don't have any ties with no federal judges. That's not true"

While the legislative battle may be on hold, it appears the legal battle is just beginning. Both sides will head to federal court next Wednesday, January 25th for a full hearing.

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