Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ford Case Opens With Cataloguing of Surveillance Recordings

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The first morning of direct testimony in the John Ford Tennessee Waltz trial had FBI agent Brian Burns on the stand, reciting the dates and brief summaries of recorded surveillance conversations between former state senator Ford and undercover operatives. The recordings, both audio and video, were made in Memphis and Nashville and, at one point, in Miami and were said to document, among other things, a series of regular payments to Ford for legislative favors on behalf of the FBI front company, e-Cycle.

Beyond that basic summary of recordings, which accompanied their entry into the court record, very little was attested to, other than the fact that former state senator Jeff Miller of Knoxville, a Republican who has not been charged, was among those legislators targeted. Another new wrinkle was the revelation that, to account for the second of two delays in pressing the legislation, undercover agent “L.C. McNeil “ pretended to be trying to buy out fellow agent “Joe Carson” (Joe Carroll).

The delays were necessary, Burns testified, in order to keep the legislation from passing – a fact which would have complicated and terminated the investigation.

Defense attorney Mike Scholl was scheduled to to cross-examine Burns when the afternoon session began.

--Jackson Baker

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