The 84-year-old former four-time governor of Louisiana is obviously enjoying his freedom after spending eight and one-half years in prison. He was accompanied by his 34-year-old wife, Trina, and by Leo Honeycutt, the author of his authorized biography.
“I am not on this tour to convince anybody that I am innocent,” Edwards said. He added, “I was tried four times by fair and impartial judges, and there was no problem. But with this particular judge, I knew we were in trouble. He made it difficult to present our case.”
He was referring, of course, to U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola, who gave Edwards a 10-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine for allegedly extorting payoffs from businessmen applying for riverboat casino licenses.
“I was never convicted of stealing money or riverboat licenses,” Edwards stated. He added that some of the businessmen applying for the licenses thought they would have problems if they didn’t pay him.
“I was sent to prison for life, and I came back with a good-looking wife. He revealed that Trina wrote to him in prison and sent a picture. When she asked if she could visit him, he readily agreed.
“It was like throwing a rubber raft to a drowning person when she said she wanted to visit me. Daddy didn’t raise no fool,” Edwards joked.
About the state of the Democratic Party in Louisiana, Edwards noted that the South has been turning to the right for the past two decades with Louisiana being the last state to do so.
“Political party labels are not important; taking care of people is what is important,” the former governor said. “I did that during the four terms I served as governor,” he added.
Would he run again if he could? “I would run and I would win,” Edwards said, adding, “but then I would have to face all those problems the state is facing today.”
The New Orleans website, bayoubuzz.com, conducted a poll. It was unscientific, but Edwards received 68% of the 2,609 votes that were cast to current Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 28%.
To run for public office, Edwards would need a presidential pardon. He came close to getting one from former President George W. Bush, but he said something happened and it did not come through.
Edwards said he does not see a pardon from President Barack Obama as a possibility, even though there is an effort afoot in Louisiana to get him one so he can run again despite his age.
Following the press conference, Edwards and Honeycutt autographed copies of his book, “Edward Edwards, Governor of Louisiana,” for many friends who came to see the former governor and his new wife.
Edwards, who along with his wife, has been mentioned as a possibility for reality television show, noted that he believes the book will make people feel good about Louisiana.
And he said he has received a wonderful reception from people around the state on his book tour. “There has not been one thing derogatory said or done,” Edwards said.
An aside: I have known Edwards since 1966 when he was a congressman, so it was good to visit with him. We have kept in touch over the years.
by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net
FAX-NET UPDATE is published weekly and delivered to your home or office by fax or e-mail. Subscription rates are: $50 for 12 months (50 issues) or $35 for six months. To subscribe, send check or money order to: Fax-Net Update, P.O. Box 44522, Shreveport, LA 71134. If you have questions, tips or want to do a guest column, call 861-0552 or send e-mail to [email protected]. Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher.
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