Hours after the U.S. Attorney remarkably pulled back 17 felony counts of bank fraud and replaced it with a single misdemeanor count of underpaying his 2007 income taxes, state Rep. La Shawn Ford expressed gratitude, relief and contrition.
He talked about the past 28 months — eight months under heavy scrutiny by the FBI; and 20 months under indictment while facing a trial that could send him to prison for years, costing him his position in the state legislature and making him a convicted felon.
Following his swift Aug. 4 court date, Ford talked about hard days as the enormity of the charges hit him and the challenge of mounting a defense against the powerful federal legal apparatus that seemed daunting, even as he was convinced of his innocence.
He recalled lying next to his mother who was fighting cancer: “My mom crying with me and telling me everything was going to be OK.” His mother is now in full remission, he said.
Ford talked about the charges and the fight “diminishing my strength as a father.”
He recalled his first lawyer telling him he should take a plea deal and serve his time.
“It is important that people stand up for themselves — and that they admit when they’re wrong,” he said.
To read the rest of Haley’s conversation with Rep. Ford, click here.