NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana's flamboyant former Gov. Edwin Edwards says he's done his time, paid $2 million in fines and forfeitures and done everything required for his supervised release, and wants the supervision to end now.
Federal prosecutors support the five-sentence request to erase the second half of Edwards' three-year supervised release for his 2000 conviction in a riverboat casino licensing scandal.
He spent eight years in federal prison and six months in home detention, reporting regularly to a halfway house, before beginning the supervised release in July 2011.
Edwards "promptly" paid $250,000 in fines and $1.8 million in restitution, and his history indicates that he is "absolutely no risk to public safety," said a memorandum of support which Edwards proposed when he filed his request Jan. 10.
The federal response filed Friday was more restrained. That document, signed by Fred P. Harper Jr., first assistant U.S. attorney in New Orleans, said Edwards has served more than 18 months and the government believes that ending supervised release early is in the best interest of justice.
Edwards and his third wife, Trina Scott Edwards, 34, are scheduled to begin a reality television series next month.
Although his 2000 felony conviction in a scheme to rig riverboat casino licenses cost Edwards his law license, he filed the motion himself in federal district court in Baton Rouge.
Edwards "has been a law-abiding citizen since discovery of his offenses in 1997. He is now 86 years old," Edwards wrote in his proposed response.
Although Edwards says he's 86, records show his date of birth as Aug. 7, 1927.
He also quoted the assistant director of the federal probation office as saying that removing low-risk offenders from the caseload lets officers concentrate on those posing a higher risk.
Although New Orleans prosecutors handled the case, they transferred it in late 1997 to a special federal grand jury in Baton Rouge. It indicted Edwards and six co-defendants. A state senator and a member of the state gambling board were acquitted. The others, including Edwards' son, were convicted and ordered to forfeit a total of more than $2.5 million.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.