Edwards’ trial date still set

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 1, 1999

JONESVILLE, La. – A trial in the case of Mayor Billy Edwards, Police Chief Clyde Walker and six other Jonesville residents charged with election fraud is still set for Dec. 6.

The trial will take place in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, before Chief Judge F.A. Little Jr.

&uot;It’s a very early trial date, and it may be postponed,&uot;&160;said Mike Small of Alexandria. Small represents Edwards – who referred all questions to Small – and Edwards’ wife, Mary. &uot;But for now, we’re assuming it will still be held on that date.&uot;

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A hearing will also be held Thursday before Little to determine whether it is a conflict of interest for Small to represent both Billy and Mary Edwards. Meanwhile, Small said he and his staffers are working fast to build a defense.

&uot;We’re conducting numerous witness interviews,&uot;&160;Small said. &uot;I&160;feel confident that the evidence will show … that my clients did not engage in voter fraud and vote buying.&uot;

On Sept. 22, a grand jury handed down indictments against the nine on 27 charges, including conspiracy, fraudulent voting, vote buying, false information and witness tampering.

Eight of the defendants were arrested Oct. 5 by FBI agents and Louisiana State Police; another, Mona &uot;Flapper&uot; Briggs, was turned herself in to authorities Oct. 6. Besides Billy and Mary Edwards, Walker and Briggs defendants include five others who helped with Billy Edwards’ mayoral campaign: Linda Curry, Garnet Thompson, Lola Bowie, Mary Walker and Henry &uot;Doonie&uot;&160;Brown.

The charges stemmed from a Nov. 3, 1998 election that resulted in Edwards’ election as mayor for a fourth term. But the outcome of this trial will not change the results of that election.