FBI agent says lying was part of 'Tennessee Waltz' job

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - An undercover FBI agent testified Wednesday that lying was part of his job as he investigated a powerful state senator suspected of bribery.

L.C. McNiel testified in federal court for the third day under cross examination from former Sen. John Ford's lawyer, who has tried to undermine the agent's credibility.

Lawyer Michael Scholl repeatedly asked McNiel if he lied in portraying himself to Ford and others as a successful music producer and executive for a computer recycling company called E-Cycle Management.

McNiel acknowledged lying often about his identity and background, saying the falsehoods were "consistent with the role I was playing."

Ford, 64, is charged with bribery, extortion and threatening a federal witness in a statewide investigation called Tennessee Waltz.

His trial began April 9 and is expected to last up to a month. Ford is one of five current or former state lawmakers charged with taking bribes from E-Cycle to help the company change Tennessee law for an advantage over business competitors.

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