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. Clint04 Wa.

    Ok, next, Dick Cheney & George W. Bush.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lmd

    what a shame... i know nothing of the justice system, but i know when someone has hurt a lot of people.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. menthu@bellsouth.net

    High level political skum bags with money never go to prison.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jo Hargis

      menthu@bellsouth.net said "High level political skum bags with money never go to prison."

      Uh oh. Someone forgot to tell Rod Blagojevich then!

      May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. StereoType Feeder

    Dude..You cannot F with the 1%... THEY OWN IT ALL!!! and will be proving that to you all very shortly!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • boohooo

      Yep, and if the flee the country, with their wealth, the 99% will starve as the US becomes a dump like mexico.

      Edwards,however, IS a member of the 1%.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dakota2000

      "Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
      Like a Colossus, and we petty men
      Walk under his huge legs and peep about
      To find ourselves dishonourable graves." Julies Caesar, by Shakespeare

      May 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tna on spike tv at 8

    #LiveIMPACT #LiveIMPACT #LiveIMPACT #LiveIMPACT tonight at 8PM ET. Don't forget it!

    tweet it now !

    May 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mg

    money wins all...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Johnson

    Edwards deserves his Mistress. She will make his life miserable and of course he will cheat on her.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sxj016

    Wish I had the money to buy innocense. Must be nice being in the 1%.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dandy

    Perhaps the lawyers need to include people with an IQ above 25 next time...

    May 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BREAKING NEWS

    ***CNN BREAKING NEWS*** Edwards was not a Democrat. You will forget that he was the Vice Presidential nominee in 2004. Democrats are never corrupt. You will forget the name John Edwards. ***CNN BREAKING NEWS***

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      if only he had been found guilty of something, it would so help your case.

      May 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. L. Sharpe

    I am happy for John Edwards and I hope the judicial system will find some real issues to address. His baby with Ms. Hunter is the real victim. I hope he develops a loving and caring realtionship with their daughter and that he and Ms. Hunter can work together for the good of the child. If they can renew their relationship – go for it.

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Renee

    Stop wasting taxpayer money – the guy cheated on his wife (like so many others). Bunny Mellon disliked Elizabeth Edwards and provided the money as a gift to protect John Edwards, not as a contribution to his campaign for president. Its time to move on....

    May 31, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TM

    How can someone cheat on their wife as she lay dying?

    May 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wanda holden

    Now they need to leave him alone-that means the Government and the news media. Let the man raise his children-yes he did make mistakes-a real big one cheating on his wife. But that isn't for us to judge it is the Lords. This family has been through enough and the government just needs to back off and start worrying about the economy and hunger in the United States and people struggling-quit worrying about the small things-we as AMERICANS have bigger problems in front of us. Quit wasting money on a new trial-MOVE ON

    May 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. samantha65

    What a waste of taxpayers money!

    May 31, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
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