Defense witness says she had romance with Ford

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Former state Senator John Ford's lawyers today began presentation of his defense against federal bribery charges.

One of the first witnesses in the Memphis courtroom today was Mina Knox, a University of Memphis student.

Knox testified she ran into FBI informant Tim Willis at a 2004 film festival in Miami. She said Willis invited her and her friends to a party on a yacht where Ford and an undercover FBI agent were.

Knox testified she began a romantic relationship with Ford at the gathering and that Ford partied with several young women and the undercover agent.

The FBI claims it was after the agency wined and dined Ford in Miami that he agreed to work for the company, which turned out to be a device that federal agents used to investigate public corruption.

Defense attorney Michael Scholl contends his client was set up by the FBI.

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