Memphis attorneys comment on the MLGW indictments

The federal indictments of former MLGW President Joseph Lee and City Councilman Edmund Ford outraged Lee's attorney.

Robert Spence, Lee's attorney, questions the legality of the charges. "It is criminal,"  said Spence.

"Would you go to jail if someone gave you extra time on your utility bill?"

Spence's comments quickly caught the attention of the Memphis legal community.

Attorney Mike Stengel calls the charges unusual.

"It appears unusual for the federal government to charge a federal crime or crimes related to a utility bill," Stengel said.

Attorney Robert Hutton believes the evidence against Lee and Ford must be strong.

"Unless you can show some kind of agreement between Ford and Lee," Hutton said, "then typically it's just politics."

While it may be hard to prove the Ford/Lee relationship is more than just politics, Hutton says to not count the government out.

"I can tell you this," said Hutton," the prosecutors in the federal system are typically pretty good."

Attorneys believe they are good enough to have hard evidence of a crime.  That evidence may not be revealed until Joseph Lee and Edmund Ford go to trial.

The attorneys Action News 5 spoke to today said they expect defense attorneys to file motions in federal court in hopes of finding out more information about the evidence against their clients.

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