Edmund Ford and Joseph Lee: Two trials or one? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Edmund Ford and Joseph Lee: Two trials or one?

The government approved separating the charges between the two key players in the MLGW Scandal. Now prosecutors say they don't know how to handle the case.

In a motion, the federal court ruled in favor of former MLGW president Joseph Lee. It says all 11 charges in the indictment against City Council member Edmund Ford and Joseph Lee do not all apply to Joseph Lee and therefore the charges against the defendants need to be separated .  

That ruling came down late Wednesday. Former MLGW president Joseph Lee was all smiles walking into federal court.

The problem now is that Judge Samuel Mays and prosecutors are not sure how to go forward with a trial.

Lee's attorney Robert Spence says there should be separate trials. The government is arguing there should be one trial.

Councilman Edmund Ford is facing counts one through six that involve allegations of bribery and extortion with Joe Cooper. Joseph Lee and Edmund Ford face counts seven through eleven with accusations of extortion and bribery. Accusations that show preferential treatment to Ford by failing to turn off his utility service despite owing more than $16 thousand dollars.

Lee is accused of doing it in exchange for favorable treatment on city council.

Today Lee's attorney insists the cases should be tried separately. 
"The government has charged councilman Ford with wrongdoing that is unrelated to Mr. Lee. He has nothing to do with the Cooper allegations and it was prejudicial to include him in the indictment," attorney Robert Spence said. 
Next month the court is expected to make a ruling on how to handle the cases in court. Whether it is two trials or one, a trial date has been set for February 4th.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.

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