Former Governor Edwards Released

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards was released from federal prison early Thursday morning, arrived at a halfway house in Baton Rouge hours later and then headed to a relative's home.

Edwards is a man who once lived in mansions, met with world leaders and ran huge political machines. However, on the first day of his release from prison, he had to wait for a garbage truck to get out of the way so he could check into the halfway house and begin the rest of his life.

Reporters asked Edwards how it felt to be home, as he was walking into the halfway house around 7 a.m.

"I don't know yet," Edwards replied.

His daughter, Anna, fielded questions from the media shortly after her father walked into the halfway house. She said his health is good and he was not surprised to see this day.

"He promised me eight years ago that he would walk out and he kept it," she commented. "He walked out. He always knew he would."

She added the hardest part of his prison sentence was the absence. She also put the prison term in perspective.

"When you walk into prison, the world stops for you, but it keeps on going for everybody else. So, look at it like this. When my dad left, cell phones did not have cameras," she explained.

Sources said Wednesday a transfer order was approved earlier this week that allowed Edwards, 83, to be released from the federal detention center in Oakdale, LA and report to a halfway house in Baton Rouge by noon Friday.

The halfway house, known as the "Ecumenical House," is on the edge of downtown Baton Rouge, off Florida Boulevard. Reportedly, Edwards will likely have to report there three times a week, but he will not actually live at the facility. The Bureau of Prisons is allowing Edwards to live with relatives throughout his 6-month probation period.

Edwards served eight-and-a-half years of a 10-year sentence for bribery related to riverboat casino licenses. Federal rules required Edwards to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

In 2007, Former Louisiana Governor Dave Treen approached then U.S. President George W. Bush to ask that Bush pardon Edwards or commute his sentence before leaving office.  Bush denied the request.

Edwards served four terms as governor of Louisiana (1972–1980, 1984–1988 and 1992–1996), twice as many terms as any other Louisiana governor has served.

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