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David Ashforth: Pirate Kingfish is finally hooked.

Byline: David Ashforth

They both fell in Baton Rouge. Casinos brought down the `Pirate Kingfish', which was better than the fate of the original `Kingfish', Louisiana governor Huey Long. Long was shot.

Louisiana governors have a

colourful history and Edwin Washington Edwards, 73, (wife Candy, 36), four terms as governor, used up

the whole paint pot. Five years ago, when he opened a new courthouse in Baton Rouge, Edwards quipped: "This is my first invitation to a federal courthouse not delivered by US marshals."

Unfortunately, when the ex-governor turned up there again on Monday, the judge jailed him for ten years. All isn't quite lost. Edwards is going to appeal, again, which may mean he doesn't have to do what he said he was going to do. "Make arrangements for Candy to find a new husband."

Edwards, wonderfully entertaining and hopelessly crooked, used to turn up at the crap tables in Las Vegas with suitcases full of dollars. He once won $220,000 at a casino in Atlantic City, but was reputed to have gone on to lose $2 million. Luckily, he liked to keep up to $500,000 in the governor's mansion in cash, possibly because he used the mansion to hold $10,000 ante poker games.

The governor sometimes turned up at a casino under the unconvincing alias of `T Wong', but generally preferred to occupy the limelight, although he was prepared to share it with leggy blondes. When he took on the former Ku Klux Klansman, David Duke, for the governorship, Edwards remarked: "We are both wizards under the sheets."

During an earlier contest with the screamingly boring Dave Treen, Edwards claimed: "The only way I can lose is if I get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

`Fast Eddie' was showered with federal indictments but the electorate regularly forgave him, and so did the juries. In 1985, when he was charged with rigging hospital licences for cash, the jury couldn't agree and, when he was tried again in 1986, and arrived at the court in a horse and buggy, it agreed to acquit him.

The governor wrote a special poem for the prosecuting attorney, John Volz.

`When my moods are over, and my time has come to pass, I hope they bury me upside down, so Volz can kiss my ass'.

Edwards stayed above the water longer than seemed possible, but the FBI finally sank him with endless hours of taped telephone conversations and Edward J De Bartolo Jr. The former chairman of the San Francisco 49ers testified that he had handed the governor a briefcase containing $400,000, which was what the governor had told him was required to help along an application for a riverboat casino licence.

Variously referred to as `the boss', `the man', `the big man', `the little man', `the head man', `the old man', and `the governor', Edwards was said to have been the head of `the Enterprise', a role which finally saw him convicted of extortion.

In Louisiana, a lot of people were still sorry to see the Pirate Kingfish go. If he does go.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 13, 2001
Previous Article:Accountant Stone wins pounds 1,000 quiz; Only a handful of readers answer John Randall's festive 50 correctly.
Next Article:David Ashforth: Time to carve up the pie and stop all the throwing.

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