Ford legal battle to continue despite bad timing - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ford legal battle to continue despite bad timing

Lawyers for ousted state senator Ophelia Ford are trying to keep the Shelby County Commission from replacing her.

Ford's lawyers have a court date for their fight. And they're expecting it to be a big one. The catch is that the court dates are too late to make any difference to the people of District 29.

Ophelia Ford's lawyer David Cocke was back in Federal Court, this time, setting dates for depositions and hearings.

The first is a debate on May 17th over whether the County Commission should be allowed to replace Ford.

"The issue before Judge Donald involves proof that irreparable harm would happen if the Commissioners are not stopped from voting at this time," said Assistant Shelby County Attorney Gene Garrett.

But that hearing will happen two days after the Nashville session ends. Five days before the County is scheduled to vote. The state senate doesn't meet again until January. That's after District 29 voters will themselves elect a new state senator.

Meaning the legal battle - likely to continue no matter what - will have no impact on Ophelia Ford or District 29.

"She doesn't go back to Nashville anyway, what are you fighting for? Well, I hate to have to make it absolutely clear that we're fighting for principal, but we are fighting for principal," says Ford lawyer, David Cocke.

Cocke says it's no longer about Ophelia Ford, but about the rights of the voters. "What we're doing now is setting the precedent for the standard that the senate must follow. This could happen at any contested race before the state senate."

If Ford's lawyers ultimately win their case against the state senate, they will be submitting their application to have the state pay their legal fees.

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