Juror released because of family death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A juror hearing the federal bribery trial of former state Senator John Ford has been released from service because his mother died overnight.

One of the alternates has been seated in his place at the trial in Memphis.

The government is continuing presentation of its case against the 64-year-old Ford, who prosecutors say took $55,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as crooked businessmen.

Agents say the phony company E-Cycle was paying Ford to influence legislation, giving the company an advantage over competitors.

Ford's attornies say their client was acting as a consultant and thought he was being paid a legitimate fee by a real business. Ford is one of five current or former state legislators charged in the Tennessee Waltz sting.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)