In a stunning move in February, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia filed a motion requesting that Edmond’s punishment be reduced. Prosecutors wrote that Edmond had been cooperating with authorities over nearly 20 years while in prison, helping them understand the workings of the drug trade and convict hundreds of other dealers.
Authorities have said Edmond, who oversaw a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring, was primarily responsible for the crack epidemic that gripped the nation’s capital for nearly a decade.
Edmond, 54, is serving life without parole for federal drug distribution convictions. He also has an additional 30-year sentence following a conviction for dealing drugs from a Pennsylvania prison.
Authorities have said his enforcers were linked to as many as 30 slayings, although Edmond was never convicted of any homicides.
The government has not yet set out a specific sentence reduction but has until June 11 to put forward details. Edmond’s attorney is asking for time served.
The case will ultimately be decided by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is overseeing the petition.
As he considers the issues, Sullivan requested that the city seek feedback from victims. Prosecutors said victims were not named in the case, but Racine is asking for feedback from the broader community.
The office created the website rayfuledmondfeedback.com and scheduled public forums on June 13, 15 and 29, at which people can share their thoughts. The website gives the times and locations of the forums.
A phone line was also created (202-727-3400) for callers to share their thoughts with a representative from the office or seek more information. And a survey was put up on the website that includes such questions as: “Should the U.S. grant Edmond’s prison reduction?” and “If Edmond is released from prison early, do you support his returning to the District?”
Survey respondents are allowed to remain anonymous and can enter the names “John Doe” or “Jane Doe.”
Racine said his office has already received about a “few dozen” calls and emails over the past few weeks about Edmond.
Racine said he recently was in Logan Circle when about a dozen people stopped to ask him about Edmond.
“People are eager to engage on the question about Mr. Edmond and should he be released,” Racine said in an interview.
Racine’s office will provide the results of the inquiry to Sullivan by the end of August. Edmond is scheduled to return before Sullivan in October for his release hearing.
Jason Downs, Edmond’s attorney, said the attorney general’s query gives District residents a unique opportunity to weigh in on whether criminal defendants should cooperate with authorities in helping reduce crime and secure convictions of others, while also securing favor from prosecutors on their own cases. While praised by police and prosecutors as a way of securing arrests and convictions, cooperation agreements have been highly criticized by some residents who refer to them as “snitching” and have even launched an “anti-snitching” movement.
“District citizens now have a clear voice,” Downs said. “Vote against Mr. Edmond’s release, thereby supporting the ‘stop snitching’ movement. Or vote in favor of Mr. Edmond’s release, thereby encouraging cooperation with law enforcement.”
Even if Sullivan ends Edmond’s D.C. prison term, Edmond may not immediately be released. He has not begun serving his Pennsylvania prison sentence, and a spokeswoman with the U.S. attorney’s office there said that prosecutors were “monitoring” the progress of Edmond’s petition in Washington but that no similar petition has been filed in Pennsylvania.