Letters show new side of John Ford

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Convicted twice on corruption charges, former Tennessee state senator John Ford is going to spend almost 20 years behind bars.

Now, some emotional letters are showing us a whole new side of John Ford.

Monday, during his sentencing hearing, family members spoke out and asked the judge for leniency in John Ford's case.

In letters written to the judge, others asked for the same, including some handwritten letters from his youngest children.

One handwritten letter is from Ford's 15-year-old daughter, Victoria.  In it, she maturely writes about the hardships of caring for her younger siblings without a father or her mother, Tamara Mitchell Ford, who's in jail on unrelated charges.

"Despite the fears of separation and insanity without a mother and father, God has blessed us with a home and lots of sanity," she wrote.

Many of the letters are from his children who write about heir dad's strong faith in God.

Ford's 16-year-old son, Theo, calls his dad, "My motivation and inspiration."

"My father did wrong but he always helped people," he wrote.
 
Other letters were from church-goers who talked about Ford being "role model for young fathers."

The 14 year sentence Ford received Monday is less than the 20 years allowed under federal law and much more than the 3-5 years Ford's attorney requested.

"We want people to expect when these matters come before us, they will be seriously prosecuted," prosecutor David Rivera said.

John Ford is set to serve 19 and half years in prison in all. He will be in his 80's when he is released.

Letters written on behalf of John Ford (names listed are who the letter is from):

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.