GUILTY! John Ford Convicted Of Bribery - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

GUILTY! John Ford Convicted Of Bribery

(Story created 4/27/07)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Former state Sen. John Ford was convicted of bribery.

The federal jury in Memphis deadlocked on the extortion charge against Ford, who was acquitted of three counts of witness intimidation.

The bribery conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000. Ford will be sentence on July 31.

The jury began deliberating Wednesday afternoon.

The jury reached a verdict late Friday afternoon. At one point, reporters inside the federal courtroom in Memphis heard that the jury had passed a note back to the judge. That note read, "We are ready for a verdict, but can't decide on one of the counts."

No one knew which count.

The prosecution told the judge they were willing to take a partial verdict and declare a mistrial, but the defense wasn't about to make a decision so quickly.

Before Ford's attorney Michael Scholl could make a decision, he asked that the jury be brought back in. Juror No. 1 confirms the prosecutor's assumption and tells the court, that they were able to report on four of the counts, but not on one of them.

Ford faced bribery, extortion and witness intimidation charges.

For the past two weeks, the jury has listened, and watched hours and hours of undercover video and audio tapes. These tapes showed Ford accepting $55,000 from undercover investigators.

Ford's attorneys asserted that their client was the subject of entrapment.

"We appreciate the jury's time that they took in this matter," Ford's attorney Michael Scholl told reporters after the verdict was announced Friday afternoon. "We respect their decision, and we're going to look at the next step in the process, and start the appellate review in this case. We will keep on fighting."

U.S. Attorney David Kustoff said prosecutors tried a good case, and got a conviction against Ford. He said the bottom line is that Ford is now a convicted felon. He said no decision has been made about retrying Ford on that extortion count. 

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