GUILTY! Ediger Convicted of Corruption Charges - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

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GUILTY! Ediger Convicted of Corruption Charges

(Story created: 5/26/04)

A jury found former Sundquist administration official Joanna Ediger guilty of federal corruption charges. The jury took much of the day to reach a verdict that now could lead to other indictments.

Joanna Ediger left the courthouse surrounded by her attorneys. She didn't testify during the trial, and she didn't say anything after the verdict.

A federal jury of twelve found Ediger guilty on two of the four federal corruption charges - guilty of wire fraud, guilty of mail fraud. 

The jury found Ediger not guilty of bribery and lying to officials.

Ediger, a former state Labor Department official, was charged back in March of helping to rig a no-bid contract for Workforce Strategists.

That was a company owned by John Stamps, a close friend of then-Gov. Don Sundquist.

A NewsChannel 5 investigation first exposed the questionable contract and Ediger's role on July 23, 2002.

Defense attorneys called her an "innocent pawn taking orders from bigger fish."

U.S. Attorney Jim Vines portrayed Ediger as someone who took personal advantage of an environment of corruption.

"Conduct displayed by Ediger supercharged the skepticism that hurts self-governance," Vines said. 

Lead prosecutor Zach Fardon seemed to indicate that with this conviction, federal investigators will look to expand the investigation, in essence search for the so-called "bigger fish."

"This investigation is continuing and will with vigor. We'll follow the facts where they lead," said Fardon.

Prosecutors also did not rule out the possibility that Ediger could cut a deal possibly implicating others for a lighter sentence.

She faces up to 20 years in prison.

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