Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Doral Dental Execs Would Invoke 5th In John Ford Trial.

From My Fox Memphis

Defense Rests in John Ford's Corruption Trial

Judge: Key Ford Witness Doesn't Have to Testify

Last Edited: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2008, 2:58 PM CDT

Created: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2008, 1:16 PM CDT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WHBQ FOX13 -- The defense rested in the John Ford corruption trial after a federal judge shot down attempts to get two crucial witnesses to testify on behalf of the former state lawmaker.
U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell on Wednesday said the former CEOs of two TennCare contractors have the right not to incriminate themselves on the witness stand.

Campbell's ruling left Ford without the benefit of testimony from Osbie Howard, former CEO of Memphis-based OmniCare, and Craig Kasten, co-founder and former CEO of Doral Dental, based in Mequon, Wis.

It is not clear whether the two could also be charged in the case.

(They darn well should be along with Dan DeRose and Todd Curse who no doubt paid Doral Dental to let Small Smiles open up shop in Tennessee)

Ford, 66, is accused of taking more than $800,000 to use his position as a senator to advance the interests of the two companies. Ford has maintained he was being paid for work he did outside the state of Tennessee.

Ford's attorney, Isaiah "Skip" Gant, has said Kasten made sworn statements in a deposition that would vindicate Ford.

Kasten took the witness stand Wednesday without the jury in the courtroom. Asked whether he would be willing to answer questions about the business dealings between Doral and Ford, Kasten said, "I would refuse to answer on the grounds that my answer might tend to incriminate me."

(Incriminate him and a few others I propose)

Previous testimony has shown that Doral paid Ford's consulting group about $1.2 million.

Last week, Gant asked the government to grant Kasten immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony.

In considering the request, Campbell asked prosecutors whether the government intended to charge Kasten and if he was the target of a probe.

The prosecution's answer to Campbell's questions was filed under seal and Campbell denied the request for immunity.
Howard, the former OmniCare CEO, took the stand after Campbell advised him to get a lawyer before testifying.

With Nashville attorney Jodie Bell by his side, Howard repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer Gant's questions.

Gant told Howard he wanted to ask about his personal and business relationship with Ford. He also asked if Howard would answer questions about Managed Care Services Group, a consulting group that Ford and Howard were in together.
"If I were to ask you questions in that regard, would you answer those questions?" Gant asked.

"No," Howard said. "I would invoke my Fifth Amendment rights."
In ruling Howard should not be compelled to testify, Campbell said Howard's concerns about incriminating himself were "substantial and real."

(Substantial and Real, well you bet it is!)

Closing arguments were set to begin Wednesday afternoon.
Ford is serving a 5 1/2-year prison sentence for a bribery conviction in the unrelated Tennessee Waltz sting.

Remember Doral Dental is the company saying it's doing an investigation in Maryland concerning the barbaric treatment of children by Small Smiles/FORBA Dentists.

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