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. steve

    I wonder if he could book a table at the waffle house now

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay Stevens

      I doubt it. I don't think they take reservations.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hottie

    He is such a Hottie!!!!! Wouldn't mind being the the same cell with him!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joy

    I say, he is guilty. But I bet he'll get off. He's rich and looks like the boy next door.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PIJoe

    So funny. Dems always put down the losing Republican VP candidate Palin. Unlike the Dems VP loser here in Edwards, at least Palin was smart enough to stay out of prison. Hope this human garbage gets nothing less than the MAX.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don

    30 years? I don't care for the guy but......30 years?????

    May 31, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FRED28

    NO NEWS is NEWS to CNN. Here a headline you can use the sun will rise tomorrow!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cobra129

    The only thing dumber than the criminal defendant these days.......are juries.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cedaly1968

    I am guessing Sen. Edwards has cancer. He had an emergency medical situation that caused a delay at the start of the trial and he walks really funny, like he's very uncomfortable. Even if convicted, I am guessing that card gets played so he can get treatment.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip Vickers

    Jeff Toobin calls this verdict a "Mess" because of the personal toll on the defendant , his family and additional time,expense and efforts in the legal system. What is amazing is John Edwards put defendants thru this system regularly with no remorse, he was a Senator and made no effort to reform the system while millions of Americans were subjected to the same type of legal impacts discussed by Toobin. Situations like this only get sympathy from other members of the legal system because it impacts "their own". Bottom line.....let the courts do their work and let Mr. Edwards deal with it like everyone else subjected to this ineffective system of justice.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JT

    You GOP TV

    May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Think about it...

    No, they stopped deliberating, saying they cannot reach a decision on the other charges. They may be forced to try again, but the article is accurate...you are not...

    May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jenny

    VERDICT for one count only...5 more to go nd they are hung...lawyers asking for mistrial................probly will get it..............

    May 31, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bob

    "BREAKING NEWS: We know that there will be news soon, but dont know what it will be"

    May 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jeff

    guilty of being stupid is all they are going to come up with.

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

    Another wasted time and tax dollars .

    May 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Keeping the system fair and rooting out corrupt influence on elected officials is worth any amount of time and money.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • hannamomma

      Yep, they just can spend enough of our tax dollars on pursuing perjury charges on atheletes.

      May 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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