Petition asks early release for ex-La. governor Edwards

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 8, 2003

A former Louisiana governor is receiving help from a Mississippimayor in an effort to get relief from a federal prison sentence forracketeering and fraud.

Mayor Bill Godbold has been circulating a petition askingPresident Bush to modify former La. Gov. Edwin Edwards’ sentence.The mayor has had the petition at his office and was circulating itat this week’s city board meeting.

“He’s my friend,” Godbold said of Edwards.

In April, Louisiana friends and acquaintances of the popularEdwards began the petition drive to ask Bush for sentence relief.The goal is one million signatures.

Godbold received the petition in the mail and has forwardedcopies to friends and relatives in other states.

One copy of the petition, which has slots for 28 signatures, hasbeen filled and 20 people had signed the mayor’s latest copy.Godbold said two people had rejected his request to sign thepetition.

The petition commends Edwards for his 49 years of service as anattorney, judge, city councilman, state senator, U.S. congressmanand governor. Edwards was governor for 16 years.

“He has done great things to help all people, and the lives ofthousands are better because he served us,” the petition says.

Edwards was convicted in May 2000 of racketeering, moneylaundering and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 10 years at a FortWorth, Texas, federal prison.

Citing Edwards’ advanced age, the petition asks the President togrant clemency, pardon, reduce the sentence or send Edwards to ahalfway house or home detention.

“We feel it is unjust for him at 75 years of age to serve a10-year sentence in prison…,” the petition says. “He deservesyour consideration.”