From today's Tennessean
|In the end, former state Sen. John Ford's disclosures, the ones he revealed and the ones he tried to hide, led to the downfall of the once-powerful Memphis Democrat, who was convicted Friday on federal corruption charges.|
A federal jury convicted Ford on two counts of wire fraud and four counts of concealing material facts stemming from the secret payments he took from two TennCare contractors while he was in the Tennessee Senate.
The nine-woman, three-man jury agreed with government prosecutors: Ford cheated the people of Tennessee.
For all his gravitas and influence, Ford seemed resigned to his fate. When he heard the verdict, he didn't react. A federal judge will sentence him on Sept. 29.
The wire fraud convictions each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years. The false statement charges carry a maximum penalty of five years each. He could get a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison. Ford, 66, is serving 5½ years for a bribery conviction in an unrelated case.
Disclosing his income during a child-support hearing triggered the investigation that landed him in federal court. Failing to disclose his payments of more than $800,000 from two TennCare contractors may keep him in federal prison for years to come.
Witnesses who testified that he referred to himself as "Mr. 15 percent" dimmed Ford's once flamboyant image.
The verdict marked the continuing free fall of the prominent West Tennessee dealmaker, whose actions prompted an overhaul of the state's ethics laws.
And Ford's second conviction may mark the end of one of Tennessee's most prominent political families.
Ford family is silent
As if on cue, Ford's family members, including his sister Ophelia Ford, who took his Senate seat, entered the courtroom as the guilty verdicts were being read.
They left the building without commenting.
Wonder why old Junior didn't find a camera/reporter to love?
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