John Ford Gets Free Public Defender - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

John Ford Gets Free Public Defender

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A judge in Nashville appointed a public defender to former state Senator John Ford Thursday. 

Ford, of Memphis, then pleaded not guilty in a case where he is accused of taking more than $800,000 from state contractors while using his position as a senator to promote their interests in the Legislature. 

Ford said in court last week he could not afford a private attorney because he was financially strapped from defending himself in the unrelated Tennessee Waltz case.

On Thursday, he provided a financial affidavit to the judge, which his attorney asked to have sealed. 

Prosecutors asked for a copy of the filing, saying it was unclear that Ford really could not afford a private attorney. 

The judge gave Ford's attorney until Monday to make his case before the document was released to prosecutors. It will not be released to the public. 

Ford's trial is set for Feb. 27.

Conviction on the most serious of the charges carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and fines of $1.5 million. 

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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