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Former Louisiana governor released from prison

Former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards [official profile] was released from a federal prison Thursday after being allowed to finish the remainder of his sentence in home detention. Edwards has been in prison since 2002 when he was sentenced to 10 years for fraud [AP report], racketeering and extortion. The former four term governor was convicted for attempting to manipulate the state's riverboat casino licensing process for his personal gain. Since his release, Edwards has taken a job as a business consultant to Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Claude Leach, who runs a business in the oil and gas services. In 2008, Edward sought clemency [JURIST report] from US President George W. Bush before left office, which was never granted.

After serving four terms as governor from 1972-96, Edwards was convicted in 2000 for the extortion scheme. In 2004, US District Judge Ralph Tyson refused to overturn [JURIST report] Edwards' conviction. The rejected defense motion claimed a political bias on the part of the trial judge and additionally contended that he was impaired by painkillers as he presided over the trial. Tyson ruled that the defense "failed to point to any facts that raise a bona fide doubt as to the mental or physical competency of the trial judge."

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