Former state senator files petition to run for General Sessions Court Clerk

Former state senator files petition to run for General Sessions Court Clerk

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A member of a high-profile Memphis political family has started paperwork to run for general sessions court clerk -- despite the fact he's served time in federal prison.

"The state law is very clear that once convicted of bribery, he can't run for office,” said Leslie Ballin, attorney.

But 77-year-old John Ford doesn't seem to care.

A letter from the Shelby County Election Commission shows the former Tennessee State Senator has pulled a petition to run for General Sessions Court Clerk -- an office he held in the 1990s.

He left office as a state Senator after serving more than 30 years when he was convicted of bribery in 2007 in the Tennessee Waltz sting.

Ford was convicted of accepting $55,000 in payoffs from an undercover agent posing as a businessman. Ford was sentenced to five years.

In 2017, a judge restored Ford’s civil rights. But Tennessee law states he cannot seek or hold public office in Tennessee.

We checked with the Tennessee Coordinator of Elections who confirmed in an e-mail "Mr. Ford is ineligible to seek or hold elected public office in Tennessee."

Ford has said he will challenge the ruling.

The e-mail states "Mr. Ford can appeal through the judicial system. But the court order stands, he cannot run for an elected public office."

Leslie Ballin, who is not Ford's attorney, says it's pretty clear.

"I think it’s a waste of his time and his effort if he’s going to spend money trying to challenge his inability to run. But he can’t be certified to run for public office,” said Ballin.

I called John Ford who said he had no comment.

He said he would talk at a later date.

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