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Friday, May 27, 2005
Operation Tennessee Waltz
The day after the arrests in relation for Operation Tennesse Waltz and there's a wealth of coverage in the media about it. The Tennesseean and The Nashville City Paper have in-depth coverage, as I'm sure do all the other television and radio outlets in town. (I'm also sure there is a wealth of coverage, opinions and analysis in The Rocky Top Brigade as well as in the Nashville is Talking blog)

Reading, listening to and watching the coverage has only reinforced the perception that Senator John Ford of Memphis is as crooked as a dog's hind leg. He allegedly took $55,000 in bribe money for a sting corporation in order to influence Tennessee legislation. Heaven only knows how much more he money he took from other sources, though I have a feeling we may find out in the coming days and weeks.

But, for having taken all this money, Ford can't afford a lawyer, according to an article in The Tennessean.
The senator is likely to ask for a public defender to handle the criminal case because he cannot afford a lawyer otherwise, said Ford's civil attorney, Martin Grusin.
So let me see if I've got this. Ford has been accused of taking bribes up to $55,000. This is in addition to the reports that Ford wrote off large chunks of his daughter's wedding from his campaing funds. And once again, he wants the tax payers to pay for his defense in this case?!? I know that under the law Ford is entitled to a fair trial, but surely the man can afford a lawyer.

Of course, I guess if he hires the best legal council money can buy, he'd have to reveal where he's hidden all the money he took in bribes, which would kind of damage his defense.

I hate to say it, but as news of this gets out, it makes Tennessee the laughing stock of the nation. Do you realize that 10% of the Tennessee legislative body was led away in handcuffs yesterday under this? How's that for an unhealthy dose of reality slapping your firmly in the face? I mean, this is the type of thing I could see happening in New Jersey, New York, Chicago in the 30's. But not in Tennessee. It's an embarassment to us as a state.

Of course, one good thing that has come out of it is that pundits on both sides are lining up, calling for better ethics legislation. And while I think this is a good thing, I also have to wonder if it's not more a case of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/27/2005 10:30:00 AM | |
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