Exclusive: Key witness in Ford trial says jury 'got it wrong' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Exclusive: Key witness in Ford trial says jury 'got it wrong'

The key witness in Edmund Ford's federal bribery trial spoke exclusively Wednesday night with Action News 5 to share his feelings about Ford's 'not guilty' verdicts.

Joe Cooper broke down as he started talking about Edmund Ford's trial and the past two years.

"I got to listen to those know-it-alls that think they know all about this case, and about me," Cooper said. "All the negative things they said I haven't been able to say."

Joe Cooper said he doesn't cry easily.

"I'm just not a weak person," he said. "I hate to do that in front of the world."

Cooper wore a wire and met with Edmund Ford Sr. several different times to hand over cash. Ford and Former council member Rickey Peete, who pleaded guilty, were indicted on extortion and bribery charges based on the evidence gathered by Cooper.

"A lot of those people who have done wrong with me, they have been my friends, and its an impossible situation, but I made a decision in August 2006 to try to get it right," he said.

The feds helped Cooper make that decision when he was charged with money laundering. The former political operative said he also agreed to go undercover in hopes that he would get a break when he is sentenced in June.

Cooper thought a conviction was a slam dunk for prosecutors.

"I think the jury got it wrong," he said. "I told the truth on the stand. It's probably my fault it went that way."

Joe Cooper said he should have been more specific on the tapes.

"I should have been more direct without actually using the word 'bribe,'" he said.

Cooper called federal investigators professional and meticulous when making their case.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 18.

Click here to send an email to Janice Broach.

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