It’s not something you hear every day in a federal courthouse - applause from supporters of the defendant. State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago, pictured) received the applause in the lobby of the federal courthouse in Chicago Tuesday after he made his first appearance in court on charges of bank fraud. Ford’s attorney, Thomas Durkin, says the charges against his client are unfounded.
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“I think that this investigation ought to be questioned as to why he was charged. I think there should be questions raised as to why at this stage in the game these charges were brought five to six years later,” Durkin said. Durkin says the charges against Ford are “garden variety bank fraud charges” that have nothing to do with Ford’s public office.
In a brief statement, Ford thanked those that came out to support him. “I love my family and friends there and they came because they wanted to, not because I asked them to,” Ford said. Ford faces 17 counts including bank fraud and false statements to a financial institution. The government claims Ford misspent money he borrowed from a bank from 2005 to 2008. Ford faces jail time and substantial monetary penalties if found guilty. He pleaded not guilty today.