Another Conviction in ‘Tennessee Waltz’

By Vic Walter

Jun 9, 2006 12:44pm

Grainy videotapes, hundred dollar bills and prominent politicians have made the FBI’s Operation Tennessee Waltz a case study in how federal agents investigate public corruption. A state senator was convicted yesterday, and three more are awaiting trial. The most prominent of the officials charged is State Senator John Ford, a Democrat, the uncle of Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. (D-TN). Senator Ford, who has since resigned, has pled not guilty to charges he took $55,000 in bribes from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking state contracts. The FBI’s "Tennessee Waltz" undercover videotape shows Ford taking $10,000 in hundred dollar bills. When the agent asks if he wants to count the money, Sen. Ford says, "I ain’t trying to count. I trust you." The tape shows Ford stuffing the first $5,000 in his back pocket. Ford puts the second $5,000 wad of cash in his suit coat. He is scheduled to go on trial October 2. A former Democratic State Senator, Roscoe Dixon, was convicted yesterday of extortion conspiracy and taking bribes. A former Republican State Representative, Chris Newton, is currently serving a one-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to bribery charges growing out of the undercover sting. The Justice Department reports that between the year 2000 and 2004 there were 3,519 convictions of corrupt federal, state and local public officials.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus