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The Best of John Ford

Phil Williams questions former Sen. John Ford Phil Williams questions former Sen. John Ford
A FedEx package from Neiman-Marcus, billed to taxpayers A FedEx package from Neiman-Marcus, billed to taxpayers
Ford at daughter's wedding, billed to his campaign Ford at daughter's wedding, billed to his campaign
(Story created: 8/31/07)

Former state Sen. John Ford now faces 5½ years in federal prison, after being sentenced last week on bribery charges.

The once-powerful and always-outspoken Ford was contrite as he begged the judge for mercy for his role in the FBI's Operation Tennessee Waltz.

"During that trial, I was completely offended with myself, just completely ashamed of myself," Ford told U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen.

But long before the feds put him in the spotlight, the Memphis Democrat had been the focus of several investigations by NewsChannel 5 chief investigative reporter Phil Williams -- and Ford was anything but contrite.

Take, for example, our investigation of Ford's personal use of the state's FedEx account back in 2003.  Here's an excerpt of the original "NewsChannel 5 Investigates" report:

FedEx Delivers, and Ford Bills Taxpayers

After our story aired, Ford called a news conference in Memphis to denounce Williams.  As you'll see below, it was classic John Ford:

Ford: 'I'm Proud' of FedEx Spending

NewsChannel 5 also caught Ford misusing money from his campaign accounts. Phil discovered that an expenditure, listed by Ford as having gone to "Awesome Videos," actually went to "Awesome Wedding Videos" for his daughter's wedding.

But what made that story especially memorable was when "NewsChannel 5 Investigates" obtained a copy of the wedding video.

Perhaps most revealing was Ford's quip at the wedding about his sources of income.  "For those of you who wonder what I do, stop wondering," he deadpanned, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Here's that story:

Ford Bills Campaign for Daughter's Wedding

The state Registry of Election Finance later fined him $10,000 for his violation of campaign laws.

Our investigation also caught the former state senator on hidden camera in 2003, boasting of how he profited from his position.  We later discovered numerous other examples.

Here's a portion of our "Capitol Hill Corruption" documentary that aired in 2005:

Capitol Hill Corruption: Senator Ford's Money

Ford is now asking the judge to let him remain free while he appeals his conviction.  He's also still awaiting trial on federal charges here in Nashville.

Back to NC5 Investigates: Capitol Hill Corruption
Back to NewsChannel 5 Investigates

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