Ford trial nears end in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ford trial nears end in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Closing arguments are Tuesday morning in the bribery and extortion trial of former Memphis city councilman Edmund Ford.

The federal court jury could get the case Tuesday afternoon.

Ford is accused of taking almost $9,000 in payoffs for help in winning city support for a real estate and highway billboard project.

In testimony Monday, he said he thought money given to him by an undercover informant was for a business loan, not bribes.

Ford testified that informant Joe Cooper was supposed to be setting up a business loan for him to buy a funeral home.

Cooper, a former city council lobbyist, is the government's chief witness. The trial jury watched secretly recorded videos last week of Ford taking cash from Cooper.

Ford testified he has known Cooper for 15 years and considered him a friend.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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