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Posted at 1:27 PM ET, 02/25/2011

Prison for 'Norfolk 4' detective

By Dana Hedgpeth

A federal judge in Norfolk on Friday sentenced a retired homicide detective best known for his involvement in the "Norfolk 4" case to 12 years and 6 months in prison for taking bribes from criminals and lying to the FBI about it in other investigations.

Judge Jerome B. Friedman gave Robert Glenn Ford, 57, almost the maximum prison time under federal sentencing guidelines. Those who attended the sentencing hearing said Friedman ordered Ford taken away immediately by U.S. marshals; he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

"It is a sad day when somebody called upon to enforce the law betrays that trust and betrays not just his fellow cops but the court system, the public and the law he took an oath to uphold," said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride after the hearing in a telephone interview.

MacBride said it was "very poignant" to see a former homicide detective who spent 30 years slapping the cuffs on defendants being handcuffed and lead away.

"It was sobering," MacBride said of the courtroom scene. "It was sad. There's no joy in seeing somebody betray the badge this way but the judge agreed this was a very serious crime. This was an astonishing pattern of extortion."

Last October, a jury found Ford, of Virginia Beach, guilty of two counts of extortion and one count of lying to the FBI. Evidence presented at the trial going back to the 1990s showed that Ford allegedly obtained payments from criminals. In return, Ford helped them secure release on bond or helped get their sentences reduced by lying to prosecutors and judges that they had helped in a homicide investigation.

Ford was also accused of making false statements to federal agents during a voluntary interview conducted during an investigation and using informants to fraudulently get money from a fund that gave money for tips to police, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which prosecuted the case.

According to the Virginian Pilot newspaper, Ford continues to deny any wrongdoing and plans to appeal.

Ford, a 30-year veteran of the Norfolk police force, dealt with some of the city's highest-profile cases. He was at the heart of the Norfolk 4 case, which gained notoriety after four sailors were allegedly coerced into admitting their involvement in a rape and murder and were sentenced to life in prison. Three of the men were later pardoned; one served more than eight years in prison but was later released.

By Dana Hedgpeth  | February 25, 2011; 1:27 PM ET
Categories:  Dana Hedgpeth, From the Courthouse, Updates, Virginia  | Tags:  Norfolk 4; former detective to prison; U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia  
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What else did he do while he was "serving the public"? Shameful.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 25, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

CORRECTION: The "Norfolk 4" were not pardoned. Their sentences were commuted.

Posted by: Bearded_One | February 25, 2011 7:20 PM | Report abuse

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