Former State Senator Ford Convicted of Bribery

Memphis (AP) -- Former State Senator John Ford was convicted Friday afternoon of bribery.

But the federal jury in Memphis deadlocked on the more serious charge of extortion against Ford.

Jurors acquitted him of three counts of witness intimidation.

Ford was accused of accepting $55,000 in bribes in exchange for legislative favors.

The prosecution's case depended heavily on showing jurors an up-close look of the once-influential state senator stuffing his pockets with $100 bills counted one by one by an undercover FBI agent.

His defense contended he thought he was being paid as a business consultant for a computer recycling company.

The bribery conviction carries a maximum sentence of ten years and a fine of $250,000, but the sentence is likely to be less than that for a first time offender. He'll be sentenced July 31st.

The jury had been deliberating since Wednesday afternoon.

Ford, a Memphis Democrat, had served in the state legislature since the 1970s until he resigned a few days after his arrest in May 2005.

Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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