New twist in Ford Rolex case - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

New twist in Ford Rolex case

There's new information about the fight over the $70,000 diamond studded Rolex watch. Action News 5 Investigators Kontji Anthony uncovered how it ended up on John Ford's wrist.

Right now, the feds have custody of the watch and they want to keep it that way.

But there was a surprise Tuesday. The case is on hold because Judge Samuel Mays recused himself from the case without explanation.

More information is surfacing about how the watch got onto the wrist of former State Senator John Ford. It's called Exhibit A.

Exhibit A tells two different stories. One: testimony of an undercover FBI agent. The other: Former Tennessee State Senator John Ford.

The agent says Ford used his political pull to try to bail real estate developer Rusty Hyneman out of a bind and that Ford got the Rolex watch for the favor.

Ford had a different take. "Everything we put up in court shows there was no kind of illegal doing in this matter and we plan on getting that watch back," said Ford Attorny, Michael Scholl.

Exhibit A says TDEC, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, fined Hyneman for violating runoff rules at his construction sites and that Ford made agressive calls and met with the TDEC commissioner to get her to back off.

Ford's attorney Michael Scholl points out Hyneman never got a special break from TDEC.

"Mr. Ford only went up there on behalf of a constituent. There was nothing done in exchange for that," added Scholl.

But wire recordings from a conversation with an undercover FBI agent have Ford saying something different about the watch:

Ford says: "I paid zero."

The undercover agenst says: "You paid zero. He just picked it up for you?"

Ford replies, "I did him a big favor."

The agenst laughs and says, "When?"

And Ford says, "saved the 'expletive' 1.3 million" and later named Hyneman.

The feds say Ford was also with the undercover FBI agent when he called Hyneman and left a message saying, "I want to get the watch and talk about one or two other things."

But Ford testified he only swapped Rolexes with Hyneman.

"Ever since this all started, we put on witness after witness showing than this was nothing more than a trade of watches and that nothing at all illegal was involved in any of this," adds Scholl.

A new judge will be selected to hear the case by a random draw. Judge Mays was unavailable for comment as to why he recused himself.

Click here to email Kontji Anthony.

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