Monday, October 1, 2007

Judge Gives John Ford's Attorney Time to Read Transcripts

Posted By on Mon, Oct 1, 2007 at 4:00 AM

John Ford will probably not be going to prison before December.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Breen set a date of November 19th for Ford's attorney, Robert C. Brooks, to file a motion to allow Ford to remain free on bond. Ford was convicted of bribery in the Tennessee Waltz investigation earlier this year and sentenced to five and a half years in prison.

Brooks, an appeals specialist, said he needs six weeks to read the 3000-page trial transcript and decide whether to ask for an appeal bond. Brooks took over Ford’s Memphis case from trial attorney Michael Scholl.

Should Brooks make that motion, Breen said a hearing on it would be held in Memphis on November 28th. Breen said Ford's report date would be moved back to some time in December.

Ford has a November 6th trial date in Nashville on unrelated federal charges stemming from his consulting work for Tenn-Care contractors. His Nashville attorney, Isaiah Gant, was in Breen's courtroom Monday and told the judge it is likely that the trial will begin on that date although a delay is possible. Gant said the trial is expected to last four or five weeks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza said Ford could begin serving his prison sentence in October as originally scheduled and still make his November 6th trial date. DiScenza said many defendants have other cases pending. He said Ford could start doing his time at a facility in Nashville or federal marshals could bring him to Nashville from Texas when the trial starts.

"Mr. Ford is no different than any other defendant who goes to trial," said DiScenza.

Brooks said 'there appears to be this rush to get Mr. Ford locked up." But he said that putting Ford in prison at this time would "deny him due process and assistance of counsel."

Breen said that if Ford's Nashville case begins November 6th then he will revisit the issues raised in Memphis by Brooks.

Ford left the courtroom without speaking to reporters.

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