Wiretaps Can Be Used Against Ford

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge in Nashville has ruled wiretaps of former state Senator John Ford's telephone calls can be used against him in a corruption case scheduled for trial next month.

The wiretaps were authorized in a government sting operation called Tennessee Waltz in which FBI agents posing as corrupt businessmen bribed lawmakers in order to receive favorable legislation.

In that case, Ford was convicted in April of taking $55,000 in bribes and sentenced to 5 1/2 years in federal prison.

In the upcoming trial, Ford is accused of taking $800,000 in consultant payments from private contractors with TennCare while using his position as a state senator to promote those contractors' interests.

The defense had argued the secretly recorded conversations from the Waltz investigation should not be used to prosecute Ford in an unrelated case.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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