MEMPHIS, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A former Tennessee state senator convicted of bribery will remain free to care for his children while his ex-wife serves a jail term for drunk driving.
John Ford's lawyer argued for a delay in the start of his 66-month prison sentence, saying Ford would be better able to defend himself in another bribery trial if he is not behind bars, The Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported.
Ford has custody of the four children, ages 2 to 15, while their mother, Tamara Mitchell-Ford, serves an 11-month, 29-day drunk driving sentence.
"It would be unreasonably harsh and completely unnecessary to inflict such a fate on these children under the circumstances," Fords lawyer, Robert Brooks, said. "The defendant poses no danger to any person were he to remain on bond until the completion of his trial in Nashville or until the mother of his children is free, nor is he a flight risk."
U.S. District Judge J. Daniel Breen ordered John Ford to remain free and scheduled a hearing for February on Ford's status. Ford, 65, has been sentenced to 66 months in prison, and faces a second bribery trial in Nashville March 4.