Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
John Edwards leaves a federal courthouse during the ninth day of jury deliberations in his trial on charges of campaign corruption in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, May 31, 2012. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six counts related to campaign finance violations over nearly $1 million from two wealthy donors used to help hide the Democrat's pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
After 9 days of deliberation, a jury has found John Edwards not guilty on one of six charges of campaign finance corruption brought against him. A mistrial has been declared on the other five counts.
After initially announcing Thursday that it had reached a unanimous verdict on only one of six charges against Edwards, the judge sent the jury back to continue deliberations on the remaining five counts. Shortly after that, the jurors said they were deadlocked on those counts, at which point the judge announced a verdict of not guilty on the third count against Edwards, which charged that he had accepted and received illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon.
The judge declared a mistrial on the remaining five counts.
The former North Carolina senator, two-time presidential candidate and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee was indicted in a federal court last June on six counts alleging his complicity in a scheme to cover up an extramarital affair and its resulting pregnancy while he was running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
The indictment against Edwards charged that nearly $1 million worth of contributions provided by prominent Edwards donors Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron, which went toward helping former Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter and their child, amounted to campaign contributions because they were made with the purpose of protecting Edwards' presidential candidacy.
The Edwards campaign did not file the more than $900,000 as campaign contributions, and Baron said before his death in 2008 that he had provided the funds on his own, without telling Edwards. The money was not given to Edwards or Hunter directly, but rather funneled through several different people, including a former aide, Andrew Young, who at one point attempted to help Edwards cover up the affair with Hunter by claiming paternity of Hunter's child with Edwards. Young used much of the money to pay for the construction of a $1.6 million home for his family.
Pivotal to the prosecution's case was proving that the funds did qualify as campaign contributions and that Edwards accepted them with the knowledge that in doing so he was breaking the law.
Neither Edwards, Hunter, nor Edwards' daughter Cate took the stand.
Edwards' defense team argued that while the former Senator was undeniably guilty of lying to his family about his affair, he did not knowingly violate federal campaign laws. Edwards' lawyers posited that Young, who was granted immunity in the trial, went behind Edwards' back to swindle Mellon out of hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal benefit.