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Edwards back in prison

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BILL FEIG/The Advocate

2theadvocate.com

By BILL LODGE

La. icon may get release in January

Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards completed a four-day furlough from federal prison Thursday, the author of his biography said.

Leo Honeycutt also said the state’s only four-time governor believes he will be released to a halfway house in January. The former broadcast journalist’s “Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana, An Authorized Biography” was released in December.

Honeycutt was contacted in Morgan City, where he said he spoke with Edwards, 83, by telephone several minutes before Honeycutt appeared at a Rotary Club meeting to talk about the book.

“He is very much looking forward to getting out in January,” said Honeycutt. “He’s waited a long time, but he’s in good spirits and good health.”

Honeycutt said Edwards, who has served eight years of a 10-year prison term for a conviction on racketeering charges, was returning to the Federal Detention Center at Oakdale in Allen Parish when he called.

Under federal rules, an inmate who has not caused problems in prison is eligible for transfer to a halfway house a year before his scheduled release date, Ed Ross, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Washington, D.C., said Thursday.

Edwards reached such eligibility in July, but Ross said prison officials do not comment in advance on halfway-house transfers.

“We don’t comment on an inmate’s future status,” Ross added. “That information is not public. But, typically, the last portion of an inmate’s sentence is spent in some form of community corrections.”

Furloughs and transfers to halfway houses can help inmates make the transition to life outside prison, Ross said.

For now, Edwards’ release from the Oakdale facility remains scheduled for July 6, 2011, Ross said.

Anna Edwards, the governor’s eldest daughter, would not comment on his most-recent furlough.

“Not a word,” she said Thursday.

But Honeycutt quoted the former governor as saying he used the furlough to spend time with members of his large family.

In addition to Edwards’ four children, Honeycutt said, Louisiana’s former chief executive has several grandchildren. And some of his great-grandchildren have entered elementary school.

Family experiences during his furlough appeared to lift Edwards’ mood, he added.

“He was like a kid,” Honeycutt said. “He was energetic and high-spirited.

“For a guy who’s 83 years old and has been in jail for eight years &hellip he was up, really up,” Honeycutt reported.

“Give me about another 90 days, and I’m going to come back and bug the heck out of you,” Honeycutt quoted the governor as saying.

Edwards did not specify where he plans to live after he completes more than six months at a halfway house, the writer said.

But Honeycutt said he feels certain that Edwards will live in the Baton Rouge area.

“I can’t imagine him living anywhere else,” Honeycutt said.

He noted that three of Edwards’ children live in the Baton Rouge area and the fourth is considering moving to the area from outside the state.

The author said he was surprised when Edwards called him.

“The way we fought like cats and dogs over this (biography), I didn’t think he’d ever want to talk to me again,” Honeycutt said.

Edwards had a three-day furlough in April and spent at least some of that time at a campground in Port Allen.

State Rep. Jerry “Truck” Gisclair, D-Larose, said then that he met Edwards for the first time during that furlough. The legislator said the longtime governor received visitors in a motor home at that campground.

Gisclair said the former governor advised him: “Vote right, and take care of your people.”

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Written by demon53

October 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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