Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Everything you need to know about the release of federal inmate No. 03128-095, also known as Edwin Edwards
By Jeremy Alford
You’re going to want to keep the first couple of weeks of January open. We’re talking Jan. 4, 6, 8, 9 and 11. And maybe a few of the dates in between. This is around the time the Federal Bureau of Prisons has claimed it will release ex-Gov. Edwin Edwards. “I’ve heard all of them. We really won’t know until he gets out,” says Edwards biographer Leo Honeycutt. “The feds don’t want to end up with a media circus.”
That’s basically what happened when Edwards, who served an unprecedented four terms as governor, checked into the Federal Correctional Complex in Fort Worth, Texas, just eight years ago. He was later moved closer to home to the federal facility in Oakdale, which is where Edwards can be found today. While Edwards contends he was only guilty of “arrogance,” a jury of peers also found him guilty of 17 of 26 corruption counts. Prosecutors managed to convince them and most others keeping tabs during the trial of the century that Edwards shook down several private businessmen in their quests to obtain riverboat casino licenses.
But that was then. Today, the Sliver Zipper is only days away from freedom. Actually, he won’t be completely free. Sources close to Edwards’ family say a halfway house could be in Edwards’ future, although he is lobbying for home confinement. For security reasons, Federal Bureau of Prisons “policy prohibits the release of an inmate’s designation to the public prior to his/her arrival at the designated facility, including the inmate’s transfer to a (residential reentry center).”
While such conditional releases are allowed after an inmate puts in 85 percent of his sentence, the feds still list Edwards’ release date in public documents as July 6, 2011. Anything that happens from here on out will be in the hands of either U.S. Probation or the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Honeycutt says he doesn’t even know if he’ll be able to attend book signings with Edwards, who is now 83. “They’ll dictate if he’ll be able to move around and make money,” he says.
Should Edwards be granted home confinement, Honeycutt and others say it will likely be with his daughter in Denham Springs. “I really don’t know anywhere else he would go,” says Honeycutt. Other sources jest that would be appropriate, since there’s another regular house guest at the Denham Springs residence: Elaine Edwards, the 81-year-old former wife of the former governor. By all accounts, Candy Edwards, his second wife half his age who left after he went to the pokey, isn’t in the picture. In fact, she has a son with another man in the Baton Rouge area.No, the Cajun Prince has moved on quite a bit since those two. Based on a report filed last week by independent journalist John Maginnis and further scoop from Honeycutt, Edwards has himself a real-life girlfriend, another blonde who appears to be in her 30s. She is Alexandria’s Trina Scott and pursued Edwards even as he was confined. “As it has been told to me, she read the book and fell in love with him” Honeycutt says. Then there’s the reports that Edwards might get hitched again, which Honeycutt brushes off. “That’s funny, because during our five years of interviews, one thing he was adamant about not doing again was running for office and getting married,” he said. “But I understand the family did warm up to her pretty good.”
Even after all those years away, Edwards is still stirring inquisitive minds. The Old Man still has a lot of “what-ifs.” But if you believe Honeycutt, the former governor might not stick around long enough for us to make him into a soap opera sequel of his yesteryear characters. “The way I understand it, he just wants to breathe free,” Honeycutt says, “and maybe go out west.”
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