Jury selection begins Monday in Ford's Nashville trial - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jury selection begins Monday in Ford's Nashville trial

After months of delays, jury selection is set to begin Monday morning in Nashville for the trial of former state senator John Ford.

The trial starts a week after it was originally scheduled to begin. The delay resulted from Ford's attorneys' unsuccessful attempt last week to have corruption charges against their client dismissed, arguing prosecutors tampered with a witness's testimony to a grand jury.

The judge ruled Ford's defense team failed to make a compelling enough argument to dismiss the corruption counts.

"It was a longshot at best to get a dismissal on prosecutorial misconduct without showing some intentional egregious act by the prosecution," said Nashville attorney Jim Todd.

Federal prosecutors say they have at least two weeks worth of witnesses to call, including Governor Phil Bredesen. Nashville attorneys say they don't know of any other governor who has ever had to testify in a criminal trial.

"They have a right to subpoena anyone they want to subpoena," said Nashville attorney Ed Fowlkes. "No public official is a sacred cow. After all, they're prosecuting one... they can subpoena one."

Ford is already serving a 5.5 year sentence in federal prison following his trial in Memphis for bribery and extortion charges resulting from the FBI's Tennessee Waltz Corruption Sting.

After serving just two months behind bars, Ford looked weary and aging when he appeared in a federal courtroom in Nashville last week. This time, he is charged with wire fraud and concealing material facts in connection with some $800,000 he earned consulting for TennCare contractors.

"He's being held now at the Grayson County Detention Center in Litchfield, Kentucky, and the normal procedure is he'll be brought back and forth each night," said Ford's public defender Isaiah Grant.

Opening statements could begin as early as Tuesday in a trial that's expected to last at least four weeks.

Action News 5 will have a crew in Nashville to bring you the very latest as arguments get underway.

Stay with WMCTV.com for updates.

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