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Story Archives: Edwards still has it
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|Edwards still has it|
Father time has been good to Edwin Edwards.
That much was evident Monday morning at the Clarion Hotel in Monroe (formerly the Holidome) where Edwards met with the media. The news conference was part of a visit to the Twin Cities to promote Leo Honeycutt's biography on the former four-term governor, who was released from federal prison earlier this year after serving some 8 ½ years for his conviction in a riverboat gaming licensing scandal.
Though the news conference wasn't exactly well attended by the working press, hundreds of people turned out Monday evening at the Clarion to see Edwards first-hand and to purchase signed copies of Edwin Edwards: Governor of Louisiana. Honeycutt's book is a must-read if you possess even a passing interest in EWE, who dominated the political landscape in Louisiana for four decades.
Like him or not, Edwards was the most prolific governor in the history of our state. We'll never again witness a governor as flamboyant and as outspoken as Edwards.
Now 84, Edwards looks 20 years younger than his age, but his hearing isn't what it used to be. His eyesight must be 20/20, though, evidenced by his very attractive, young wife, Trina, who he married over the summer. They met while he was prison in Oakdale. She became interested in Edwards thanks to Honeycutt's book. Edwards agreed to a visit, and as we've heard before, the rest is history.
Never lost for words, Edwards was quick to point out to the media gathered Monday that he wasn't convicted some 11 years ago for stealing from the state. Instead, according to Edwards, his conviction in the riverboat gaming scandal was made possible because a federal judge worked with the prosecution to make it happen.
Remember the juror who U.S. District Court Judge Frank Polozola removed from the jury during deliberations in Edwards' trial? Edwards says that particular juror was pushing for an acquittal. It only takes one juror in a federal trial to stop a conviction. Only one.
Though Edwards still believes he got a bad rap and so do I, he took his punishment like a man. After all, he went off prison, served his time and didn't complain. At least publicly he didn't.
When Edwards began his prison sentence in 2002 in Fort Worth, he vowed to return to society. In other words, he would not die in jail, which was entirely possible considering his age.
"They sent me to prison for life, and I came out with a wife," Edwards joked.
There were other quips that we heard Monday that only Edwards is capable of offering, or can get away with, in a public setting. A couple of the remarks he made later in private would make for good copy, as we say in the newspaper business, but they weren't exactly appropriate for public consumption. Take it from me, he's still got it.
Yet, what are we to make of Edwards' forays across the state to promote a book about himself?
I suspect Edwards is on the road again to remind us that he still matters. And he does matter.
His political career as a candidate is finished, but he can still influence people and their thinking. And that's a very powerful thing.