John Edwards not guilty of illegal campaign contributions; mistrial on other charges
May 31st, 2012
04:25 PM ET

John Edwards not guilty of illegal campaign contributions; mistrial on other charges

[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] The judge in the John Edwards trial has declared a mistrial on all counts except for the one on which the jury found the former presidential candidate not guilty, CNN producers in the courtroom said Thursday.

The jury has been dismissed by the judge.

CNN Producer Ted Metzger said that the decision came after the jury sent a note saying they had exhausted all options. All of the lawyers read over the note, as did Edwards, who did not react.

When the judge read the final verdict and declared a mistrial on other charges, Edwards had an expression of relief but also pain that the trial might have to go on again, Metzger said.

[Updated at 4:24 p.m. ET] The jury in the John Edwards trial has found the former presidential candidate not guilty on count three of accepting illegal campaign contributions from heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2008.

The jury said it was deadlocked on the other charges.

That was the sole count the jury had earlier that they had reached a unanimous verdict on. The jury was still deadlocked on the other charges.

The Justice Department will now have to decide whether to try him again on the other charges.

[Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET] The judge in former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' federal corruption trial has ordered jurors to continue deliberations after they announced they had reached a verdict on only one of six counts.

The judge will soon issue an "Allen charge," which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] The prosecution has asked for the jury to go back in the jury room to deliberate. The defense has asked for a mistrial on the remaining counts.

The judge is taking a five minute recess on the matter. The judge has the option to issue an "Allen charge," which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.

What are the charges against John Edwards?

[Posted at 2:53 p.m. ET] The jury in the John Edwards trial has only reached a unanimous decision on one charge against John Edwards.

The group of jurors said that as of this moment they could only agree on the charge of illegal campaign contributions from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. We do not know which way the jury decided on that count.

Edwards, a former Democratic U.S. senator and presidential candidate, was charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions, falsifying documents and conspiring to receive and conceal the contributions. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Everything you need to know about John Edwards

Jurors last week asked to review all the exhibits, indicating they were in it for the long haul.

Prosecutors said Edwards "knowingly and willingly" accepted almost $1 million from two wealthy donors to hide former mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy, then concealed the donations by filing false and misleading campaign disclosure reports.

Defense attorneys argued that Edwards was guilty of nothing but being a bad husband to his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2010. They also argued that former Edwards aide Andrew Young used the money for his own gain and to pay for Hunter's medical expenses to hide the affair from Edwards' wife.

Neither Edwards nor Hunter testified during the trial. The affair occurred as Edwards was gearing up for a second White House bid in 2008, and he knew his political ambitions depended on keeping his affair with Hunter a secret, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon told jurors in closing arguments.

Prosecutors argued that Edwards knowingly violated campaign finance laws by accepting the large contributions from Rachel Mellon and Fred Baron that went to support Hunter. Edwards "knew these rules well," Higdon said, and should have known that the contributions violated campaign finance laws.

Edwards accepted $725,000 from Mellon and more than $200,000 from Baron, prosecutors said. The money was used to pay for Hunter's living and medical expenses, travel and other costs to keep her out of sight while Edwards made his White House run, prosecutors say.

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soundoff (223 Responses)
  1. thomas

    Why have a story about a verdict being made? Why not wait until the verdict is published and then post a story WITH the verdict?

    The essence of this story is that there is no real news to report.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • susiekline

      agreed

      May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      i agree, cnn becoming poor and poorer every day

      May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Well, ya know, we don't know. Thanks CNN!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruth E.

      Wouldn't that be a great idea CNN? Isn't that Journalism 101?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • LANCE

      This way the MSM can keep your interest piqued and keep people interested in the sordid story John Edwards helped to create.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • dottaye

      thank you. that's what i'm sayin. report when the verdict is said: GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY!! DUH!!!!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian P

      When a verdict is announced, everyone gets 15 minutes to get back to the courtroom to hear the verdict. Calm down Francis. Hold your water for a few minutes, M'Kay?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. SCOTO

    So.......where is the verdict?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John Edwards

    I DIDN'T DO IT!
    ACQUIT!
    ACQUIT!

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • lobbyistgrl

      Settle down, John.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gregory Faith

    Slow News Day

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Solo

    And...?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. manhattan govt atty

    totally agree with thomas. the point of this was to learned something about the verdict. all we learned about were the pretext to the case which is helpful, but just really fluff without knowing the verdict

    May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. D

    Whatever....even if he is convicted the appeals process will last for years.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. annoyed

    Yes this is a, for lack of a better term, stupid story.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hillcrester

    Perhaps a well-written article would tell us when the verdict will be announced?????

    May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. benji

    Who cares? We want the verdict.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. B4Cons

    He should have waited for Citizens United to be passed.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ciiku

    I conquer thomas... It's all about "you heard it first on..."

    May 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. T

    What's the verdict? No merit to this story.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jolgar

    OMG – 30 years – I hate to take any illegal money from anybody, but I guess murder would be OK. The American jurists are totally out of control asking for 30-year sentence. Sure, take away a guy from his kids. He is not a murderer or a drug addict, you stupid people.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      You are aware that the 30 years is the legal maximum for ALL the charges. It does not mean that he will get anything close to that. Just that this is the maximum when you all up all the charges.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. fjsmith

    I'm not an Edwards supporter, but if he gets jail time, and Clinton didn't, that's the basis for his appeal! Clinton deliberately lied under oath! No impeachment, no jail time... whatever...

    May 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      Clinton was impeached. He was not convicted.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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