Former Shelby County Officials Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

JANUARY 30, 2007 - Posted at 1:16 p.m. CST

MEMPHIS, TN - Lobbyist and former Shelby County official Joe Cooper today pleaded guilty in Memphis to one count of money laundering.

Federal authorities allowed him to plead to reduced charges in exchange for his continued cooperation in the bribery case against Edmund Ford and Rickey Peete, who both remain on the Memphis City Council.

They were indicted in December, accused of accepting bribes to support a private real estate project.

The 61-year-old Cooper entered his plea to a count charging him with laundering more than $43,000 for drug dealers who paid cash to buy cars when Cooper worked as a Cadillac dealership salesman.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)