Gov. Edwin W. Edwards (D) offered to resign if U.S. Attorney John Volz agreed to block his indictment, but Volz refused, according to secret grand jury testimony released yesterday by a federal judge.
Edwards and seven others were indicted Feb. 28 in what the government said was an illegal $10 million scheme to obtain state certificates authorizing construction of hospitals and nursing homes.
The state certificates were then sold to big hospital corporations, which could recoup almost all of their expenditures through government programs, according to the indictment.
A cornerstone of Edwards' pretrial defense was the assertion that Volz improperly told grand jurors Jan. 4 of a private conversation with Edwards two days earlier at Volz's office in New Orleans.
James Neal, the chief defense lawyer, said there might be grounds to have the indictments thrown out if the grand jury testimony showed Volz in the role of both prosecutor and prosecution witness against Edwards.
Volz opposed release of 16 pages of his Jan. 4 grand jury testimony, but Edwards' lawyer won the right to see the transcripts. Volz then petitioned for full public disclosure, granted yesterday.
Trial is scheduled for Sept. 17 but court sources said the contested grand jury transcript could force a delay