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Apr 9, 2010 4:10 PM by Letitia Walker

Edwin Edwards Dines in St. Martin Parish For Furlough

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards had a three-day

furlough this week from the federal prison where he's serving a

10-year sentence for his conviction on corruption charges,

according to newspaper reports.

The former governor's brother, Marion Edwards, told The

Times-Picayune that the 82-year-old former governor spent time with

his children and ate dinner at Pat's, a popular restaurant in

Henderson, between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

State Rep. Jerry "Truck" Gisclair of Larose, who stays at a

campground in Port Allen, west of Baton Rouge, during legislative

sessions, told The Advocate of Baton Rouge that he learned Edwards

was staying nearby one morning earlier this week.

"And one of the other legislators staying there knocked on my

door and said Edwin Edwards is a couple of campers away," Gisclair

recalled Thursday afternoon.

"I said, 'I've got to meet him,"' he added.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons would not confirm that Edwards had

been given a furlough. But an agency spokesman said it is not

unusual for inmates to take short periods from prison to

re-establish family ties as they approach a release date. Edwards

is scheduled for release in July 2011.

Marion Edwards said the furlough ended Tuesday night and had

been planned for several months. He said he expects his brother to

be moved to a halfway house in January.

Harvey Huval, part owner and manager of Pat's, said the former

governor and several family members and friends surprised them with

his visit.

"Before he went to prison he had lunch there and said when he

got out he would have lunch there again, and that's what he did,"

his friend, B.I. Moody of Crowley, told The Advertiser newspaper in

Lafayette.

Moody said Edwards was in good spirits and enjoyed the visit

with friends, including restaurant founder and former Henderson

mayor Pat Huval.

Wearing a blue jumpsuit, Edwards "looked really good for an

83-year-old man," Huval said. "He was sharp as a cat. His

one-liners were on the money. He was good with the women, like

always."

Edwards is serving a 10-year sentence at the federal prison in

Oakdale, La., for a bribery and extortion scheme to rig the

riverboat casino licensing process during his fourth and final

term, which ended in 1996. He has maintained his innocence and

blamed his conviction on former friends who he said turned against

him and lied in their testimony.

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