In February, federal prosecutors filed a motion with the court asking that Edmond get out of prison early because he had worked with authorities over many years, helping them understand the workings of the drug trade and convict other dealers.
Edmond, 54, oversaw a massive cocaine ring in the 1980s. He is serving life without parole for federal drug distribution convictions as well as an additional 30 years for dealing drugs behind bars.
Prosecutors say Edmond began cooperating with the government in 1997 and continued through 2014.
His cooperation “ranged from assisting in the conviction of extremely violent individuals, to assisting in the conviction of ongoing narcotics trafficking to assisting in the institution of prison reforms,” prosecutors wrote.
The government did not recommend a specific sentence reduction, but it asked U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to weigh Edmond’s cooperation and criminal history. Edmond’s attorney is asking for time served, which means Edmond would be released immediately.
A hearing will be set before Sullivan so he can hear from both sides.
The judge recently asked federal prosecutors how he could obtain the views of victims, family members of victims and members of the community as he considers the potential of early release.
But federal prosecutors, in a filing earlier this month, argued there were no “direct” victims who would be able to testify they were harmed by Edmond’s criminal activity.
“The United States is not suggesting that the defendant’s narcotics crimes did not harm his community (plainly, they did,)” prosecutors wrote, but they said those people did not technically qualify as crime victims in the case under federal guidelines.
Since prosecutors determined there were no individuals who could directly testify as to the harm of Edmond’s actions, Sullivan suggested that Karl A. Racine, the District’s attorney general, might be able to testify at the hearing. Edmond’s attorney, Jason Downs, said in his filing that he did not object if Racine testified on behalf of the city.
Racine’s office on Friday said it had not yet reviewed the filing.
Sullivan ultimately will review many aspects of Edmond’s request including the impact of his cooperation with prosecutors and whether his release would jeopardize public safety.
Edmond, known for his flashy cars, designer clothes and expensive jewelry, oversaw an operation that brought up to 1,700 pounds of cocaine a month into the District in the mid-1980s. At one point, law enforcement officials estimated he was raking in as much as $2 million a week. Authorities said his enforcers were linked to as many as 30 slayings, although Edmond was never convicted in any homicides.
Edmond was arrested in 1989 and was sentenced to life in 1990. He was sent to a maximum-security prison in Pennsylvania. While there, he continued to deal drugs, using the prison’s phone system to reach his contacts and suppliers on the outside.
But prosecutors wrote in court papers that once Edmond began to work with authorities, his cooperation “made a significant contribution to the investigation and prosecution of others.”
The prosecution’s proposed reduction applies only to Edmond’s life-without-parole sentence for his D.C. crimes. According to a recent filing, prosecutors in Pennsylvania are reviewing his cooperation to determine whether to file a similar motion for a reduction for his sentence there.