Former Gov. Edwin Edwards and former Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown are among the more than 2,000 people convicted of federal crimes awaiting word on whether President Bush will give them a pardon or commute their sentences during his final months in office.
Edwards, who turns 81 on Aug. 7, will be eligible for release from the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale on July 6, 2011. He’s serving a 10-year sentence for corrupting the state’s riverboat casino licensing process.
Brown, 68, who was convicted in 2000 and served six months for lying to the FBI during an investigation of a failed insurance company, said he filed the pardon application himself several months ago.
“I’ve determined to go down every route I could to not only look for vindication but just to put the troubling time I had with the federal government behind me, and the pardon is just one more avenue,” said Brown, who hosts a radio talk show and writes a political column for some Louisiana newspapers.
Brown said he doesn’t know what his chances of success are. Unlike in the Edwards case, where Treen and Johnston are asking that the remainder of Edwards’ sentence be commuted, Brown, who has completed his sentence, is asking that he be pardoned. A pardon would forgive him for his crime, and allow him to escape certain civil penalties that come with a felony conviction, such as denying him the right to vote or to carry a firearm.
“I just put the application in myself. I didn’t hire any lobbyists,” Brown said. “I know that a lot of people make the request and very few are given. But I feel what happened to me was wrong, and any step I can take to move beyond what happened to me I’m going to pursue.”
Note: The Insite interviewed former Governor Edwin Edwards several times over my broadcasting career in Louisiana. I first met him at about 10 years old when some of my friends and I walked up to the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge and knocked on the door. State Police somehow allowed us to meet him. We got all kinds of cool stuff including a state of Louisiana letter opener. How cool is that? I later interviewed the Governor several times in my adult life on radio and television. Not sure if he remembered me from that 10 year old experience!