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by Mike Caswell
John Edwards, one of those accused of masterminding the massive CMKM Diamonds Inc. fraud, has died in custody. Nevada prosecutors informed the judge of his death at a status conference on Monday, May 14. Mr. Edwards, 75, had been in poor health for many years, suffering from dementia and more recently having seizures.
With the death of Mr. Edwards, the long-delayed trial in the CMKM case will have to proceed without any of the main defendants. The other person accused of masterminding the CMKM scheme was Saskatchewan's Urban Casavant. He died on Feb. 14, 2014, in Saskatchewan after a routine procedure to treat a hernia. Another defendant, Jeffrey Turino, pleaded guilty and died just months after completing a six-year jail term. He suffered complications from heart surgery.
Just weeks ago, Mr. Edwards's lawyer had asked the judge to release Mr. Edwards on health grounds. He provided few details, but he had previously argued that Mr. Edwards was not mentally competent to stand trial. Mr. Edwards's lawyer also said that he had been negotiating an agreement in which Mr. Edwards would plead guilty, with a recommended sentence equal to the seven years that he had already served in jail.
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