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      Former Sen. Ford: 'Not going to stop serving the public'

      By Valencia Wickervwicker@abcnews4.com

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - It's been nearly eight weeks since Robert Ford resigned from his seat with the state Senate.

      "I'm not going to stop serving the public just because I'm out the Senate," said Ford in his home during his first television interview since his resignation. "I'm going to show Americans and South Carolinians what a true public servant is."

      Since his resignation, Ford said he has dealt with health problems but feels better than he has in a while.

      "They just trying to get the stress out of me," said Ford, referring to his doctors. "Then I will be, even at my age, I'll be more dynamic than I was I the past."

      Last May, the South Carolina state ethics committee launched an investigation into Ford's campaign spending. Ford was accused of using campaign dollars to purchase personal gifts, which included items from a sex shop.

      Early in the investigation, Ford said the items were gag gifts for his colleagues.

      On Wednesday, Ford said he used his personal money to "look out for the citizens."

      "That's why they put me on trial, because they say, 'This boy getting too popular,'" Ford said. "I'm a servant. You supposed to do that. Let people know how much you appreciate them."

      Ford said he shouldn't have been on trial.

      "It's going to be worth the public's while when they find out who the real crooks in this state are on ethics," Ford said.

      Meanwhile, Ford has endorsed a Lowcountry businessman to replace him.

      "When you're talking about a public servant, complete public servant, you can't get no better than Maurice (Washington)," Ford said. "And what I really love about him, he was willing to challenge the whole black leadership in South Carolina."

      Maurice Washington is one of nine candidates running to fill Ford's seat.

      "The people in the Lowcountry will do well if they send Maurice to Columbia," Ford said.

      The primary election will be held Tuesday, Aug. 13. The general election will be Oct. 1.

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