Edwin Edwards Grants First Prison Interview - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Edwin Edwards Grants First Prison Interview

Candy Edwards Candy Edwards

For the first time since he entered federal prison former Governor Edwin Edwards speaks publicly. Edwards says he can hardly believe he has been in prison for almost one year. In fact, October 21st, next Tuesday, will mark Edwards' one year anniversary in the Fort Worth, Texas Medical Prison.

Edwards is 76 years old, says he feels good, sleeps well and despite where he is now, he says he looks forward to living another 20 years. The four-time Governor says he refused to speak publicly until now because it has taken him this long to adjust to the shock of prison life, "I was just devastated when I got here. It was such a shock to go from living in a mansion one year ago, a very good home with my wife and family, having all the comforts of home and then suddenly one day I'm relegated to two pairs of khaki pants, two khaki shirts and a pair of black shoes."

Edwards describes himself as a "gofer" for the prison office. He also is responsible for washing tables, windows and microwaves. He says prison life is something he can take, but being away from his wife Candy and the rest of his family is tough.

"To my critics out there I want them to know that they're getting what they wanted. I'm suffering. But to my friends I want them to know I can handle it," said Edwards.

Edwards was sentenced to a ten-year federal prison sentence for scheming to demand kickbacks from applicants for riverboat gambling licenses in Louisiana during his fourth and final term in office. While Edwards says he is not guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted, he says he is repentant.

"I'm repentant because I was so stupid picking bad friends but I had no way of knowing they would flip on me and destroy our relationship. I thought I was helping them," said Edwards.

Edwards says he never once thought he would go to jail. But now that he has had time to think, he admits he made some mistakes. "I was lackadaisical, flippant and that's one of my minuses. Probably if I had been more serious and concerned I might not be here talking to you today," said Edwards.

Edwards credits the love and support of his wife Candy for his being able to make it through his time in prison. Candy says she visits her husband at least three times a month but says it is hard. With the support of friends, Candy says she feels strongly that Edwin Edwards will get out of prison sooner rather than later.

"I really feel in my heart of hearts that something will happen in the next year or two. Something good's gonna happen," said Candy.

Although Edwin Edwards says the chances are slim that he will get out of prison, he is hopeful because of a petition drive to set him free. So far thousands of people have signed it. However, Edwards wants to make clear this is part of the legal process just as the indictment, trial, verdict and appeal were.

Edwards says, "I went through that. I lost. This is the final step. I have a right, as everybody does, to petition the pardon board in Washington for some kind of clemency."

Meanwhile, Edwards says he keeps busy by working and by answering all of the mail he receives. He says on one day last December he received 163 letters and now it's down to about 20 letters at a time. But he says it is something that keeps him going. And while he knows this will tarnish his record he says it will not change his record and for that he is proud.


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