Ford corruption trial resumes Monday - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Ford corruption trial resumes Monday

The Edmund Ford corruption trial will resume Monday morning in federal court.

A jury will ultimately decide the fate of the former Memphis city councilman, who faces charges of extortion and bribery.

When his federal trial resumes Monday, Ford will likely take the witness stand.

Ford's defense attorney Mike Scholl says Ford did nothing illegal when he accepted $8900 in cash payments from political lobbyist Joe Cooper. Cooper was the federal government's star witness earlier in the week.

A longtime friend of Edmund and Myrna Ford, Cooper began wearing a hidden camera for the FBI in August of 2006 after he was charged with money laundering.

On Wednesday, jurors watched shocking surveillance footage filmed during meetings between Ford and Cooper. In the video, Cooper lobbied for a billboard ordinance pending in the city council. Cash was exchanged and Ford promised enough votes to pass the measure.

"I'll drum you up seven or I'll make somebody walk out," said Ford.

On Thursday, defense attorneys replayed the tapes, telling the jury that Cooper never said the money was in exchange for votes. Instead Cooper told Ford the money was to put toward a down payment on a loan and to help with past-due car payments.

"You did get those car payments, didn't you? Let me give you a couple more 'cause you want to keep those ahead of time," said Cooper.

On Friday, Ford's wife Myrna took the stand and told the jury she considered the cash to be help from a family friend during tough financial times.

The jury will decide whether the money given to Ford was illegal or a harmless handout.

Testimony resumes Monday at 9:30 a.m. Action News 5 will be in the courtroom to bring you the latest.

You can monitor the proceedings in real time on our courtroom blog by clicking here.

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