Images of high life play out in first week of Ford trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Kontji Anthony reports

Images of high life play out in first week of Ford trial

Those inside the courtroom say the unique interplay between jurors and the players in State Senator John Ford's corruption case gives the trial an unpredictable edge.

One that could play into whether or not Ford walks.

Political analyst Jackson Baker had a front row seat during week one of the trial.

He noticed a stark contrast in the likes of the jurors and their subject.

"My dominant impression of the jury is it's a very working class looking jury and there's all this testimony of yachts and champagne and fine hotels and spending a lot of money and cash, a lot of high-lifing. You know that might hurt John Ford," says Baker.

Baker says the undercover FBI agents also talked of the high life, which could paint agents into the same box whether they were playing a role or not.

He adds, "it's not a conventional cops and robbers situation. The Feds talk about playing a role when they tell John Ford who they are and what they're doing and the jury may conclude what's the difference between playing a role and misrepresenting oneself."

Baker says prosecutors showed undercover tapes in sequence calling Ford paranoid.

On tape, Ford looks for bugs and makes threats against anyone trying to set him up.

Baker says jurors could take that either way.

"What I see is someone who's discovering that someone is doing something to him. I don't see that as paranoia. I see that as someone with a heightened antenna," says Baker.

Baker says the fact the jury was not sequestered could taint the pool on such a high-profile case.

The trial is expected to last about two more weeks.


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