Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Case Dropped Against Lee and Ford

Posted on Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 4:00 AM

The government's losing streak in local corruption cases has grown to two now, with a surprise announcement Tuesday afternoon from the U.S. Attorney's office that it is dropping its case against city councilman Edmund Ford and former MLGW head Joseph Lee. The two faced bribery and extortion charges relating to favors allegedly done Ford by Lee acting in his official capacity.

The case was based on the well-publicized fact of Ford's having amassed significant unpaid utility bills for his funeral home at a time when, as a councilman, he had oversight capacity over MLGW. Only last month, Ford was acquitted by a jury of bribery and extortion charges relating to the acceptance of cash from FBI informant Joe Cooper pertaining to a zoning case.

The statement from Lawrence J. Laurenzi, acting U.S. Attorney, reads as follow:

STATEMENT REGARDING DISMISSAL OF CASE AGAINST

EDMUND FORD AND JOSEPH LEE

MEMPHIS, TN-Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee announced today that the United States of America has made a motion to the District Court to dismiss the case of US v Edmund Ford and Joseph Lee. The Government has re-evaluated the case and stated to the Court that a dismissal is warranted in the Interest of Justice.

This was the government's motion for dismissal:

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
WESTERN DIVISION

*

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff,

*

vs. No. 08-20001-Ma

EDMUND H. FORD,
JOSEPH LEE, III, *
Defendants. *

MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT

COMES NOW the United States of America through the undersigned attorneys to move thisHonorable Court to DISMISS the above-numbered indictment as to both defendants.

The Government has re-evaluated the case and states to the Court that a dismissal is warranted in the Interest of Justice.

The undersigned counsel for the Government advised counsel for the defendants (Michael E. Scholl, Esq. for Mr. Ford and Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., Esq. for Mr. Lee) of this motion, and they advised that they did not object to it.

Based on the foregoing, the Government asks the Court to grant this unopposed motion.


Respectfully submitted,

LAWRENCE J. LAURENZI

Acting United States Attorney

By: s/ Thomas A. Colthurst
Assistant U.S. Attorney

s/ Lawrence J. Laurenzi
Assistant U.S. Attorney

# 18324 - Tennessee # 009529 - Tennessee

167 N. Main Street, 8th Floor 167 N. Main Street, 8th Floor

Memphis, Tennessee 38103 Memphis, Tennessee 38103

(901) 544-4231 (901) 544-4231

Tom.colthurst@usdoj.gov Larry.Laurenzi@usdoj.gov


Case 2:08-cr-20001-SHM Document 29 Filed 06/24/2008 Page 2 of 3

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I, Thomas A. Colthurst, Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, hereby certify that copies of the foregoing MOTION TO DISMISS INDICTMENT have been e-mailed or mailed, first class postage pre-paid, to the following counsel for the defendants:

Michael E. Scholl, Esq.
8 S. Third Street, Fourth Floor
Memphis, TN 38103


Robert L. J. Spence, Jr., Esq.\
SpenceWalk, PLLC|
One Commerce Square, Suite 2200
Memphis, TN 38103


David A. Howard, Esq.
44 West Flagler Street
Suite 675
Miami, FL 33130

on June 24, 2008.


s/ Thomas A. Colthurst
Assistant U.S. Attorney

More details will be added as they become available.

--Jackson Baker

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