Scott Arnold's Report On The John Ford Trial - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Scott Arnold's Report On The John Ford Trial

NewsChannel 5 reporter Scott Arnold from the Ford trial in Memphis:


11:45AM: The jury began receiving instructions for deliberation, which should last about 40 minutes. After the instructions, the court should recess for lunch. Upon their return, the jury will begin deliberating.

11:07AM: We are back from a short break. The prosecution has one more chance to go before the jury and convince them that Ford is guilty on bribery charges.

A prosecutor, in a rather animated voice, gets up and insists Mr. Ford maybe a powerful man, but he works for us. He abused the public's trust. She justifies why not every conversation was recorded with Ford, she says it is not possible As the prosecutor speaks, several jurors appear to be nodding their head in agreement.

10:37AM: Ford's Scholl continues to try and discredit one of the undercover agents involved in this case. Scholl tells the jury one more reason for not believing the FBI's case, is one of their agents is a former felon, Scholl calls him a lying thief. Scholl instructs the jury to "Listen to the context of things ladies and gentlemen."

In wrapping up his closing arguments: Scholl tells a jury "You have been given a tremendous job, there is reasonable doubt in this case. The Feds can't dot their i's and cross their t's, going after that gentleman right there." Leaving out recordings.

Is there a smell in here because of everything they tried to manipulate? You bet there is. The government has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. At 10:37, Scholl wraps up his arguments. Prosecutors are getting set for rebuttal; we are taking a 15 minute break.

10:30AM: As closing arguments continue, a prosecutor tells a jury that Ford's attorney wants them to close their eyes to the evidence. Prosecutors say Ford wasn't lured into the FBI by some elaborate sting, it was Ford's greed that brought him into the investigation.

10:20AM: The courtroom is now packed, there are no more seats available. It's a much different story now than at the start of this trial. A number of Ford family members are here. Scholl is playing an audio clip of an undercover investigator in this case one more time for the jury. The clip replays a conversation Ford had with the undercover investigator, where the investigator jokes that he would kill Ford if he didn't get this legislation for E-cycle passed. Scholl says that wasn't a joke, but a valid threat.

10:10AM: Scholl: Theres a bad smell in this courtroom, and it's this case. He claims the Feds didn't record every conversation, only the ones that show Ford in a bad light. Scholl says the FEDS spent all this money trying to impress Ford, entertaining him on a 4 million dollar yacht. He says a lot of taxpayer dollars were wasted.

Scholl is looking over all the receipts of what was spent on lavish dinners and parties. Scholl brings up they were drinking expensive Cristal champagne, all to entrap Ford. He questions if Ford was such a criminal, why the need to spend a quarter of a million dollars to catch him?

10:00AM: John Ford's attorney Michael Scholl continues his closing arguments. In the trial, prosecutors played hours and hours of undercover video and audio, allegedly showing Ford accepting bribes. Scholl claims they only played bits and pieces of certain converstaions to cast Ford in a bad light. Scholl reminds the jury of how he played extra bits of those taped recordings, that show the real story. "Let your voice be heard" is something Scholl tells the jury over and over.

Ford, dressed in a grey suit with pink shirt and tie, sits quietly, watching Scholl at work.

9:45AM: John Ford's attorney Michael Scholl started his closing arguments at 9:45.

Scholl claims investigators in the case were sketchy and unclear with their facts in this case, and they were trying to entrap John Ford all along.

Scholl tells the jury that Ford was simply acting as a business consultant all along.

Scholl claims every one who gets on that witness stand has had an axe to grind with Mr. Ford. He wonders why they taped some conversations, and not others. and says there are big gaps in the Feds case.

9:00AM: Defense is about to start closing arguments in a matter of minutes. 

About a dozen Ford family members are entering the courtroom right now. John Ford is here with his attorney. Things were supposed to start at 9:30, but they are running a few minutes behind. Closing arguments by Ford's attorney Michael Scholl should start soon. Yesterday, closing arguments by prosecutors lasted more than two hours.

Ford told a reporter yesterday that he is looking forward to his attorney telling his side of the story. Ford decided not to testify yesterday. The wait continues.

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