Toobin: Edwards indictment 'meant to embarrass him'
Former Sen. John Edwards, shown here in 2008 on the campaign trail in New Orleans, was indicted Friday.
June 3rd, 2011
12:02 PM ET

Toobin: Edwards indictment 'meant to embarrass him'

Editor's Note: Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, offered his immediate reaction to the John Edwards indictment.

Former U.S.  Sen. John Edwards was indicted Friday by a federal grand jury amid allegations that he violated campaign finance law by providing for a mistress.

Instead of the typical "bare-bones" indictment that would simply list allegations related to potential abuses, Toobin said the document contained details meant to send a strong message to Edwards.

“There’s a saying in criminal law called a ‘speaking indictment’ ... an indictment that really makes the case, that really sort of outlines the evidence and really sticks it to the defendant," Toobin said.

"This is clearly a speaking indictment. There is a lot of technically extraneous material that is very insulting and very damaging," he said.

"There’s stuff about his haircuts, his famously expensive haircuts, this is obviously an indictment that is meant to embarrass him as well as simply announce the charges," he said.

While plea discussions had been ongoing, Edwards' defense lawyers and federal prosecutors have yet to come to agreement.

A grand jury has been investigating monetary assistance given to Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, by benefactors of Edwards 2008 presidential campaign. Federal prosecutors contend the funds should have been considered campaign donations - a contention Edwards' team has disputed.

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Filed under: John Edwards • Politics • U.S.
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. paulm5545

    OK, he cheated on his wife and his mistress had a baby. The haircut issue is old news, but it was still news. Then his wife (finally) left him. All this was international news, yet Toobin thinks this indictment was meant to embarrass Edwards? Seems to me that Mr. Edwards has already been embarrassed beyond belief by his own doing.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. funkybunch

    Didn't Greenfield have to bring Toobin to court to get child support. What a joke.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rick

    It always comes down to hush money. When will politicians learn that infidelity isn't a crime in of itself. Its when you start paying people off is when it becomes illegal.

    Of course the law isn't enforced equally. Look at how many get away with it.

    June 4, 2011 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mavent

    You're neither "American" nor a "person".

    June 4, 2011 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  5. average joe

    Hey, Name( Withheld)

    She makes plenty of money ? That's why she had to be supported by the 100 year old lady and her lover.
    Yeah, right. Elizabeth made sure she didn't get any of the money she had worked so hard for. Where are your stats
    to prove her self-made wealth and why in the world would you be sticking up for her ? My beef is with him and those like him, she only adds to the mix of slimy behavior.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. JEN


    June 4, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jazzzzzzz

    If they are going to indict Edwards for a little indiscretion in using a bit of campaign contributions,then they better indict 99% of the other politicians in Washington. He ain't the only one.

    June 4, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • livingperson

      yea..take em all out and lets restart this country

      June 5, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. CubanMom

    Mr. Toobin, Edwards has done a fine job of embarrassing himself.

    June 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. krag

    I confuse easly . Why am i reading responses to two different stories here

    June 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mike kerns

    The ex Republican Senator ensign from Nevada gave hush money to keep his affair with his best friend wife quite in the middle of his reelection campaign. He was not charged at all.

    June 6, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Baretta

    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

    June 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ted

    Jeffrey Toobin is a left wing hack masquerading on CNN as an independent analyst. Independent my ***. No wonder CNN is now in 3rd place. CNN must owe him big time

    June 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. average joe

    Hey, Name Withheld..still there ?

    What are the books and movies written about her ?
    What was her method of supporting herself prior to all this mess ?
    Is that you , R ? Hiding behind Name Withheld ?
    I'm waiting.....start her list of accomplishments, besides ruining lives, both living and dead.............

    June 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |

    June 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
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