Craps Winnings Used as Trial Evidence

Governor Edwin Edwards tries to horn in on the craps game of Tony "The Appliance Giant" Campo on the Star Casino riverboat; December 8, 1993. Also present (L-R) are Orleans Parish Levee Board President Bob Harvey, riverboat casino owner Louis Roussel, Jr.People usually don’t remember politicians. Many people can’t even name the past five Presidents of the United States. This is the highest office in the land! The situation is even worse if you are a politician at the state level. Ask people to recall the name of the governor of their state thirty years ago. Most people can’t do it. However, a governor can stand out if he or she was in the news for something odd. That is exactly what happened to the governor of Louisiana back in 1985. Governor Edwin Edwards went down in history as being the elected official that won $562,000 playing craps at a casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Most people would be excited to share how much money they won at a craps game. However, the Federal Bureau of Investigation didn’t seem to feel this way. Investigating racketeering charges, the FBI testified that Edwards had amassed huge gambling debts. To pay them off, the FBI stated Edwards started racketeering. The defense had a casino employee take the stand to show that Governor Edwards was a skilled gambler and didn’t need to go to such lengths to pay off any gambling debts he had. He used his winnings as evidence!

The trial turned out well for Edwards. The end result was an acquittal. However, that doesn’t mean that Governor Edwards completely absolved himself of any wrongdoing. At least, that is what one would believe from his parting comment. After learning that half of the jurors that acquitted him stole towels from their hotel, Edwards said, “I was judged by a jury of my own peers.” What that was supposed to mean is anybody’s guess. However, no one will forget his big casino winnings in craps being used as evidence.