Ford trial jurors view undercover FBI tapes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Ford trial jurors view undercover FBI tapes

Prosecutors in the federal bribery trial of Edmund Ford showed jurors a series of videotapes Wednesday recorded by FBI agents over a two month period.   Memphis businessman Joe Cooper helped the FBI record the tapes.

CLICK HERE TO READ OUR REAL-TIME BLOG OF THE TRIAL

WATCH UNDERCOVER VIDEO IN THE PLAYER TO THE RIGHT OF THIS STORY>>>

The tapes were recorded mostly in Ford's mortuary office, but one meeting happened in Ford's city council office.

FBI informant Joseph Cooper told the jury he knew City Councilman Edmund Ford was worried about losing his mortuary.

At the beginning, Cooper seemed nervous on the tapes.  In an August 28th video recording, an FBI agent counts $3,000 and gives it to Cooper, but Ford wasn't at the mortuary when he dropped by. 

Cooper drops by again two days later.  On that day, Cooper and Ford can be seen having a discussion about pushing a billboard project through the council. Cooper hands Ford the money. Ford puts $3,000 into the pocket inside his suit jacket.

In a phone conversation on September 18th, Ford tells Cooper he needs financing to buy his mortuary property.  Cooper starts getting more comfortable and asks the agents how he can get a better camera angle.

Then, on October 2nd, the FBI agent counts $2,000 and gives it to Cooper.  Cooper drops by the mortuary again. He gives Ford the money, but $100 dollars gets caught in his pocket, so Ford pockets $1,900.

Cooper says, "You'll give me seven votes?  God bless you."

The next day, they meet in Ford's Council office.  Ford is whispering as he eats lunch.  He starts counting votes, naming the council members who are on board with the plan.

Weeks later, the FBI agent counts out $2,000 and gives it to Cooper, who jokes with the agents and calls Ford goofy.  Cooper's plan was to give Ford "thank you" money for helping pass the resolution to lift the billboard moratorium, but Ford wasn't there.

The feds arrest Ford, the videotape shows, when he pockets $2,000.


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