EWE now a free man

Advocate staff file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLINGFormer Gov. Edwin Edwards, shown here in this September 2011, was released Thursday from post-prison supervision. Show caption
Advocate staff file photo by TRAVIS SPRADLINGFormer Gov. Edwin Edwards, shown here in this September 2011, was released Thursday from post-prison supervision.

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards called himself a free man Thursday after receiving early termination from post-prison supervision on a racketeering conviction.

“I entered prison at 75 years old and vowed to survive and walk out. In 10 years of prison, home confinement, and probation I never had one write up, ” Edwards said in a statement released by his wife, Trina.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, of Baton Rouge, discharged Edwards from further supervision two years after the former governor left federal prison.

Edwards, 85, thanked his wife, family and friends for standing by him during the dark days.

“I am now a free man in body as I was always free in spirit,” he said.

Edwards is the state’s only four-term governor, finishing his last term in 1996. He now lives in Gonzales with his 34-year-old wife and her two sons.

He said in his motion that he received no disciplinary write-ups while in prison and that he met all the conditions of his supervised release.

In addition to serving time in prison, Edwards paid $250,000 in fines and forfeited $1.8 million after he was convicted in 2000 on racketeering, fraud and other charges related to the rigging of riverboat casino licenses.

From prison, Edwards moved into home confinement and then supervised release. He married his third wife, Trina, shortly after his home confinement ended. They now are filming a reality show that premieres in March on A&E.

Supervised release can be terminated after a year. Edwards served 18 months of a three-year term of post-prison supervision by the federal Office of Probation and Pretrial Services.

Prosecutors did not oppose Edwards’ request for early termination, a stance Jackson noted in his decision.

“The Court has been informed by the United States Probation Service that Edwards has complied fully with all of the terms of his supervision, and that it has no objection to the early termination of his term of supervised release,” Jackson wrote.