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Flamboyant former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards dies at 93

By
Kyle Barnett
Four-term Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards is dead at 93. Photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI
Four-term Louisiana Gov. Edwin W. Edwards is dead at 93. Photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI | License Photo

July 12 (UPI) -- Flamboyant former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards dies at age 93. His biographer, Leo Honeycutt, said the cause of death was respiratory failure.

Edwards was one of the more colorful characters in politics in the 20th century who may be best known for his 1991 gubernatorial campaign slogan "Vote For the Crook. It's Important." It was a race in which he beat Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.

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Following that stint in office -- his last of four terms as governor -- Edwards served eight years in jail on racketeering charges.

"I have lived a good life, had better breaks than most, had some bad breaks, too, but that's all part of it," Edwards said at his home in Gonzales, La., according to KATC.

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"I tried to help as many people as I could and I hope I did that, and I hope, if I did, that they will help others, too. I love Louisiana and I always will."

Edwards entered hospice last week after complaining of a lung problem.

"I've made no bones that I have considered myself on borrowed time for 20 years, and we each know that all this fun has to end at some point," he said following the move.

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Edwards was born in Marksville, La., on Aug., 27, 1927, to a half-Cajun sharecropper mother and a French-speaking Cajun midwife.

He later started his career as an attorney representing French-speaking clients after having graduated from with a law degree from Louisiana State University.

Edwards was a U.S. representative for Louisiana's Seventh Congressional District from 1965 to 1972. He served as governor of Louisiana from 1972 to 1980, 1984-88 and 1992-96.

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In 1985, during his third term as governor he was tried in relation to a $2 million bribery scheme. He was acquitted on all charges.

Edwards was known for blatant acts of self interest in his time as an elected official. "It was illegal for them to give, but not for me to receive," he once said when confronted about illegal campaign contributions.

He was convicted on 18 counts related to allegedly taking bribes in exchange for riverboat gaming licenses when Louisiana opened up to gambling. Edwards never admitted guilt. After eight years in jail, he was released in 2011.

Immediately upon release, he married prison pen pal Trina Grimes Scott, now 42, and became a father again in 2013. He had four children from two previous wives. The two had a short lived reality show named The Governor's Wife on A&E.

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Edwards again ran for office in Louisiana's Sixth Congressional District in 2014, but came in second.

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Norm Macdonald, known for "Saturday Night Live," "Billy Madison," and "Norm," died after a private battle with cancer on September 14 at the age of 61. Photo courtesy of Netflix

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