Jurors in Memphis got a second look at eight undercover videos of former state Senator John Ford taking stacks of $100 bills from the FBI. more>>
MEMPHIS, Tenn.- Former state Sen. John Ford's legal fate is in the hands of a Memphis jury.
The jury is trying to decide if Ford is guilty of taking $55,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents who were conducting a public corruption investigation.
Closing arguments ended Wednesday morning. The jury began deliberating around 1 p.m. in the case, which has lasted for two and a half weeks.
Ford's defense has been that he received legitimate consulting fees.
In his closing argument, Ford's attorney Michael Scholl told the jury about the lavish spending by FBI agents all, as he put it, to entrap Ford in an elaborate scheme.
Ford was one of five current or former state lawmakers who were arrested in the FBI's undercover operation called Operation Tennessee Waltz.
Key questions in this case have become whether John Ford took a bribe or was he getting paid for consulting?
His lawyers said this was an FBI operation that was out of control. They played audio tapes in an effort to show that the FBI had to "work" to get John Ford on board when it came to Operation Tennessee Waltz.
Ford and his attorney Tuesday decided that he should not take the stand in his own defense. Some who have watched this case closely believe that was a good idea.
In addition to these federal charges, Ford also faces unrelated charges on accusations that he accepted improper payments from state contractors.