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. Laura Ashe

    I don't are to know that they've reach a verdict.. I ONLY CARE ABOUT THE WHAT THE VERDICT IS!!!! You should have waited to annouce this until you knew what exactly the verdict was. Waste of my time.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike k.

      whatev's let's see those alternates!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert Schleich

      I agree with Laura Ashe

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ciiku

    I conquer thomas. It's all about "you heard it first on...." ratings, ratings, ratings, and with CNN struggling rates, you can't fault them for try.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OPEN400

    It wiull be interesting to see how Fox News ties this to Obama; or, at minimum the entire Democratic Party. I am waiting for Bush and Cheney for the bogus weapons of mass destructions and the unnecessary war we got involved in. O-o-o-o-p-s. I forgot, we are never allowed to question the action a president taken in regards to the military.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neo

      That's why Obama is smart and has the Media in his pocket.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • cajr

      i'll bet according to you every war in americas history has been unjustified. like korea, kennedy's vietnam, grenada, bosnia, desert storm, you name it. hell why not WW II while we are at it? war is part of life always has been always will, as long as there are the hitlers, stalins, hussein, and assad's of the world. they have to be stopped at any cost.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • LOl

      @OPEN400 i don't know about you, I remember after 9/11 every true American was ready to go to war. Calling it unnecessary is Disrespecting to those that died that day and the troops that have died over there since. So you can hate on Bush for "dragging" you into a war. I'm laughing at you for voting for someone that is a questionable Patriot. Obama has : Bowed to a saudi king (Worlds Most powerful man bows to NO-ONE) Second : He can't seem to find his heart during our national anthem (does he have one?), Last but not least! Obama (What he thinks was secret) Tell's the chinese president he is going to be more flexible after he's reelected. (He's gonna let china rail him!)

      May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SpenderH

    I hate CNN as much as the next guy, but this is news. There was speculation of a mistrial coming after the prolonged deliberations, so finding out they have reached a verdict is news. Usually these articles say what time the verdict will be read so that piece of information would have been nice.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roger

    Not guilty by reason of paying off the jury

    May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Do you have any basis for that comment whatsoever?? (Thought not)

      May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. comingsoon

    john edward is not the first one to be crucified for invoking "the haves and the have-nots" as the frame through which to understand the world and its problems.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Golden God

    He sure has a perty mouth. Have fun in prison John boy.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fox News

    This is why I still choose non-liberal news.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • bxgrrl

      So why did you read it? No new lies on Fox?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • sassysticks53

      FAUX is not News. It's a TV station for Obama and Democrat haters.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • hillcrester

      Faux News isn't news at all–it is deliberate, anti-Obama propaganda, throogh and through!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Robert

    Because after 9 days of deliberations the fact that the jury has been able to reach a verdict is news worthy and should be reported.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bxgrrl

    This s the media's routine: First one shoe drops "verdict reached!" and then the other "the verdict is..." It takes a while to get all the parties together in the courtroom for the verdict reading. So what.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nolongerarepublican

    This just in, the Jury ate lunch.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • AS4321

      LOL that was a good one

      May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mizz Edee

    Ditto. Media desperate for material?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. SeeNN SuXs

    CNN so lame, I just wasted a mouse click on this article.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gerald Farrow

    John still can't out lie Obama.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • mizh

      As if duhbya was honest with the American people for 8 years?! Puhleeeze.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gerry Daley

      Apparently you seem to have forgotten all about that disastrous little war in Iraq that Bush/Cheney/Rice lied us all into...thousands of deaths of American soldiers later and billions and billions of dollars later as well.

      Now THAT is a lie!

      May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Coflyboy

      I am surprised you didn't outright blame Obama for Edward's behavior.

      Dumas.

      May 31, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Fail

    The whole point of this headline and article was just to generate pagviews. This article is fail

    May 31, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
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