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Doug Mouton / Northshore Bureau Chief

MANDEVILLE, La. -- Former Mandeville Mayor Eddie Price pleaded guilty to state perjury charges in a St. Tammany Court Thursday and in an ironic twist of fate, it could get him out of jail as much as 18 months early.

St. Tammany Judge William Burris sentenced Price to four years in prison, but Price could now actually serve less time in jail.

The state sentence will run concurrent with Price's federal sentence, and because the state case is now closed, Price could now qualify for a federal drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.

If Price successfully completes that program, his attorney Ralph Whalen said, 12 months could be cut from Price's sentence, and he could qualify to serve the last six months of his sentence in a halfway house.

It means Price would qualify to be moved to a halfway house as early as October 2012.

That was the benefit of the plea deal for Price.

'For Mr. Price, I think this is a way for him to get this behind him, and we're certainly pleased,' Assistant Attorney General David Caldwell said shortly after the sentence was handed down. 'This is a very stiff sentence in state court - four years, Department of Corrections for a perjury case, so we're very pleased.'

Caldwell leads the Attorney General's Public Corruption Division.

'What we've been trying to do is to get stiffer sentences in state court so that when we come forward with these types of cases, that people know we mean business with these state agencies,' Caldwell said.

Thursday's court proceeding lasted only about 10 minutes.

Eddie Price admitted to lying on the witness stand back in January 2008, in the battery case against SpeeDee Oil Change owner Gary Copp. Copp was accused of brutally kicking a woman in the head in a Mandeville Bar.

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