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. justice

    verdict please.......!!!!!!!

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

    Like I said before wether they Democrat or Republican all politicians are crooks just looking out for themselves
    while smiling and asking for money in your face

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

    And when will it be announced?

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Charles

    CNN is quickly rising to the quality of National Inquirer

    May 31, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • oh god this never ends

      haha, true

      May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • BCK

      Rising?

      May 31, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. docjj

    What do you expect from a man who sued enough doctors to be able to run for President?

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

    Verdict should be guilty but who knows, there is something odd about this jury. I bet all you suckers out there who donated to his campaign are wishing him prison time...since some of your money went to the care of his mistress and love child.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jenny

    not guilty................

    May 31, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. oh god this never ends

    who gives a crap at this point. dirt bag gets away or doesnt get away with being a bigger dirt bag.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dongdongd

    And the verdict is "Who cares"

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. William

    Come on and convict this liberal crook! Send him to prison where he and his $500 haircut will make him a beautiful bride for some lonely convict. Hope he gets to "toss the salad" for some black inmate while getting plugged in the rear by another.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. christine

    WOW, really.. I need a good shot of whiskey for that verdict.. Seriously

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dave

    Did Mellon pay "gift tax" on her gift? If not, the IRS should collect it.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jules432

    At least this is better than reading about the galaxy ending (NOOOOOOOoooo!), the guy who filmed himself killing then screwing kittens before chopping up his acquaintance and sending the body parts to political factions, or the other guy who ate the homeless man's face off. Did anyone else click on the new video with "startling new images" on that last one? If so, how far did you make it in before throwing your device across the room? It was about 3 seconds for me.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jasie

    Do you remember The Enquirer had to break this story b/c they were covering his behind just like they cover Obama.

    May 31, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • karen1952

      REALLY! I thought everyone new that the enquirer is a sensational rag!

      May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark

    CNN, he was never a presidential nominee; he was a vice presidential nominee and, at one point, a candidate for the presidential nomination.

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