Key Detective in False Confession Case Sentenced

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On Feb. 25, 2011, Robert Glenn Ford was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison following his conviction in 2010 for extortion and lying to the FBI.

Ford played a central role in the interrogation of the Norfolk Four, the story which was the subject of FRONTLINE’s report, The Confessions. However, Ford’s conviction and prison sentencing was for unrelated cases in which he had taken bribes from criminal suspects in exchange for getting them favorable treatment in court.

U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Friedman levied close to the maximum sentence, calling Ford’s behavior “an abuse of power.” Attorney Donald Salzman, who represents some of the Norfolk Four, told The Virginian-Pilot that the former detective’s corruption was “pervasive” and said, “We believe the evidence shows that he not only corrupted the criminal justice system to benefit defendants but he also manipulated the process to prejudice innocent defendants, including our clients.”

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