Ford corruption trial will feature notable names - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Ford corruption trial will feature notable names

Former Tennessee State Senator John Ford will be in court Tuesday morning. The convicted felon will face another set of corruption charges.

Ford, who is represented by a Federal public defender,  will face a Nashville jury in a trial in which he is accused of concealing $800,000 in consultant fees from two Tenn Care contractors while he was a state senator. Memphis defense attorney Leslie Ballin said a Nashville jury might not be as familiar with Ford.

"People are people. Jurors are supposed to try the case based on things that are said in court. But you come into court with preconceived notions. In a perfect world those preconceived. notions need to be left outside and should be left outside. But we're people," Ballin said.
Federal prosecutors said they have at least two weeks worth of witnesses to call. Some of them quite notable.

Prosecutors subpoenaed Governor Phil Bredesen to testify in Ford's trial.  Bredesen said Ford asked him in 2003 to direct more business to TennCare contractor Omnicare. The Governor said he did not know Ford was being paid by Omnicare and said he never acted on Ford's behalf.

The governor's testimony will likely be used to show a pattern of behavior on Ford's part.

Some experts wonder if Ford will take a deal from prosecutors since he is serving five and a half years in a Louisiana prison camp.

Ballin said Ford could plead up until the jury starts deliberating.

Governor Phil Bredesen is expected to take the stand at the end of this week.

Federal prosecutors said jury selection in John Ford's Nashville corruption trial is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.

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