Edwin Edwards Timeline - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Edwin Edwards Timeline

Key events in the life and career of Edwin Edwards (Source: American Press)

Aug. 7, 1927:  Born in Marksville, son of a sharecropper and the local midwife. He was christened Catholic.
Age 12:  Turns to fundamentalist Church of the Nazarene when his sister marries a Nazarene preacher.
Age 14:  Becomes licensed Nazarene minister, preaching at tent revivals. A year and a half later, becomes disillusioned and quits ministry.
January 1949:  Earns law degree from LSU at age 21.
April 3, 1949:  Marries Elaine Schwartzenburg after rejoining the Catholic Church to do so.
1954-62:  Serves on Crowley City Council.
1964:  Elected to State Senate.
Oct. 2, 1965:  Wins seat of 7th District congressman killed in car accident.
1971:  Wins Democratic primary for governor, beating J. Bennett Johnston in Dec. 19 runoff.
1972:  Beats Republican Dave Treen in the general election.
Aug. 1, 1972:  Appoints Elaine Edwards to U.S. Senate for five months remaining in Allen Ellender's term after his death.
1972:  Reporter going through Edwards' trash before inauguration finds notes he says show Edwards sold powerful state jobs for campaign contributions. Edwards says he made promises and took $130,000 to keep the money from going to other candidates, but never meant to keep the promises and returned the moeny after the election.
1974:  Former aide Clyde Vidrine accuses Edwards of selling high-level jobs for campaign contributions. Grand juries in Rapides, East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes investigate in 1974 and 1975; they report finding no proof.
1973-1975:  IRS and federal grand jury investigate Edwards' finances; No charges.
1975:  Elected to second term in open primary.
1975:  One federal grand jury in New Orleans confirms that a quasi-governmental organization called the Family Health Foundation gave Edwards airplane trips and campaign contribuations.
1976:  Former State Highway Board Chairman Lewis Johnson, indicted on federal charges in 1975, sent to prison for making illegal campaign contributions to Edwards in 1971. Edwards says that although it was illegal for Johnson to make the contributions, it was legal for him to accept them.
1976:  Edwards' name comes up in "Koreagate" scandal. Edwards says Tongsun Park gave his wife $10,000, but she never told him. He later acknowledges getting $10,000 from Park's agent, Jay Shin Ryu, but says he didn't talk about it earlier because nobody asked about Ryu.
1977:  Vidrine publishes "Just Takin' Orders," a book accusing Edwards of graft and womanizing.
1979:  Edwards' chief administrative officer, Charles Roemer II, and reputed Mafia don Carlos Marcello are indicted in federal "Brilab" sting. Both are convicted and serve time. Edwards testified before the grand jury but was never accused of wrongdoing.
March 10, 1980:  Edwards' second term ends. Louisiana Governors may only serve two consecutive terms.
1983-84:  Federal grand jury in Baton Rouge reveals that while Edwards was governor, he received a stock option that could give him control of a company managing a voluntary investment program for thousands of state employees. The grand jury issues a statement saying it believes the program was munipulated to funnel money to Edwards' friends; however, the grand jury does not indict him.
1983:  Edwards' brother Nolan is slain by former law client during Edwards' campaign for governor.
Oct. 22, 1983:  Takes 62 percent of the vote against Republican Governor Dave Treen; is first person ever elected three times as governor in Louisiana.
January 1984:  Edwards and more than 600 supporters fly to France and Belgium; $10,000 a head trip pays campaign debt.
1984-85:  Federal grand jury in Baton Rouge looks into possible connection between Edwards' representation of Texaco Co. before he took office and subsequent firing by natural resources secretaryof private auditor looking into Texaco's payment of mineral royalties to state. No charges brought.
Feb. 28, 1985:  Edwards, his brother, Marion, and four others indicted on racketeering charges concerning state hospital certification and deals involving a firm for which Edwards worked while out of office. Two other defendants added later.
Sept. 17, 1985:  First racketeering trial begins.
Dec. 9, 1985:  U.S. District Judge Marcel Livaudais dismisses charges against three co-defendants.
Dec. 18, 1985:  After seven days of deliberation, a jury heavily leaning toward acquittal cannot reach a unanimous verdict; mistrial declared.
March 24, 1986:  Second trial begins.
May 10, 1986:  Edwards and four remaining co-defendants acquitted.
Oct. 24, 1987:  Edwards finishes second to U.S. Rep. Buddy Roemer in primary for governor.
Oct. 25, 1987:  Edwards concedes race to Roemer.
1989:  He and wife, Elaine, end their 40-year marriage.
November 1991:  Defeats David Duke in runoff after he and Duke eliminate Roemer in open primary.
Jan. 13, 1992:  Inaugurated for his fourth term.
Dec. 18, 1993:  Hospitalized after he fractures two bones in his back riding horseback at his Poplarville, Mississippi ranch.
May 26, 1994:  Marries 29-year old girlfriend Candy Picou.
Aug. 30, 1995:  Undergoes open heart surgery after doctors find one artery almost completely blocked.
January 1996:  Leaves office after fourth term.
December 1996:  Federal investigators place microphone and video camera in law office Edwards shares with his son, Stephen Edwards.
March 12, 1997:  Edwards receives $400,000 in cash in a briefcase from San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who calls it an extortion payoff.
April 28, 1997:  Home and law office raided by FBI.
Nov. 6, 1998:  Indicted in gambling corruption case. Also indicted are Stephen and five others.
April 11, 2000:  Takes witnesses stand for four days; denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
May 9, 2000:  Convicted of 17 counts; Stephen and three others also convicted.
Dec. 6-7, 2000:  Six Edwards convictions thrown out.
Jan. 8, 2001: Sentenced to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine.
Feb. 1, 2001:  Allowed to remain free while appealing his convictions to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Aug. 23, 2002:  A three-judge panel of the appeals court unanimously rejects the appeal and upholds Edwards' convictions.
Sept. 23, 2002:  Full appeals court refuses to look at Edwards' case. Three-judge panel refuses to review its decision. The rulings leave Edwards' only hope to remain free with the U.S. Supreme Court, which only chooses to review a tiny number of the cases sent to the high court.
Oct. 21, 2002:   Edwards reported to a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. Stephen reported to a prison in Beaumont, Texas.



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