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. fernace

    This goes to show "never, ever trusta politician"!! If y'all think this is bad just scratch the suface a bit, especially of those proclaiming to be Christian, anti-gay, Family Values proponents! The hypocracy & corruption will be so astounding it will grow into it's own being & bite us where it hurts most, the Trust we give to these villains! They are made up of both parties, I might add!

    June 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Honry

      He embarassed, humiliated, shamed himself AND his family by cheating on his dying wife, no one is doing that to or for him. Consequences come.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anthony's Case Posts

    EVERYTIME I SEE HER SMILE IN COURT, OR ON HER ARREST TAPES, IT HAS GUILTY WRITTEN ALL OVER IT…….TOO BAD IM FROM MINNESOTA, OR ID BE IN ON THE RUSH TO GET A SEAT IN THAT COURTROOM, MY DAUGHTER WAS THE SAME AGE AS HERS, SHE JUST TURNED 6………MAKES ME SO ANGRY THAT SHE CAN LIE, LIE & LIE, AND SHOW NO FEELING OR REMORSE (FOR WHAT SHE DID, EVEN IF SHE DID’T KILL HER, YOU’D THINK SHE’D BE BAWLING HER EYES OUT FROM THE MEMORY OF IT ALL ) FOR HER PRECIOUS BABY GIRL…I KNOW THERES NO WAY I COULD SIT STONE FACED….DAY IN AND DAY OUT REGARDLESS OF HOW SHE DIED!!!!!!! I WOULDNT BE ABLE TO HOLD THE TEARS IN!!!

    June 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • uh?

      are back again? why don't you rant on a relevant story? like actually posting your comments exclusively to the stories on the trial? people like you are called trolls. and no, it's not a polite term. troll.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • sliq

      What the ef are you talking about?!! lol I gotta say I havn't seen anything as random as this your comment in my life haha

      June 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jinx

    John Edwards is a slimeball. Period.

    @Anthony's Case Posts:

    It seems you fancy yourself an investigative journalist.
    You're not.
    First, an investigative journalist would investigate which thread to post his thoughts on.
    For instance, the Nancy Grace blog.
    Second, the posts would actually make sense.
    Yours do not.
    Third, journalists do not use cut and paste.
    So STOP IT, MORON!

    June 3, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. AnOldGuy2

    Bailiff – whack his pee pee.....

    June 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jannynet

    What a sorry state of "affairs". Couldn't resist that. I really liked John Edwards and considered voting for him but changed my mind and I was never sure why. Must have had a sense of something wrong about him. I really liked Elizabeth and wonder how much more successful she would have been in her cancer fight if she hadn't had to contend with his shenanigans. I don't think she's looking down with a smile I think she is crying for a wasted life and the stigma it has put on her children.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • crsmith12

      Edward's failure is his alone. I would never stigmatize family members just because they are related.
      And when you say "wasted life", I hope you do not mean Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a successful author, attorney and mother. Tragically, her life was too short.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jannynet

      No, not Elizabeth as a wasted life, his. I'm sure he started with high ideals and scruples and got waylaid and headed down the wrong path. I'm glad you wouldn't stigmatize their children, nor would I, but there are those that will for cheap thrills. Elizabeth was and still is a woman worthy of respect and admiration. She had class and dignity.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry

    Some how I fail to feel sorry if the Jerk feels embarrassed. Maybe he should have thought about that before he pulled his zipper down.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike228

    It didn't take an indictment to embarrass Edwards-he did a perfectly good job doing it himself.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ramaswami

    He constantly talked about two America's. He meant one for him and other for people who follows laws. What a crook he is. Thank God, we are smarter than him, we did not Vote for him.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Leria

    Good point there.... the fact is that our public servants would have to be a little cracked today in order to want to serve, considering that the public thinks that they should adhere to the most conservative values on the planet.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Barry Spencer

    Mr. Toobin, By soo many past experiences, Democratic or Republican Mr. Edwards is not above the law, just as even Richard Nixon wasn't, As a fellow Democrat I am insulted by all of his behavior, as a Candidate and as a Former Senator he should have know better than to have used campaign money on anything except that which is allowed. He is clearly artifical and hypocritical and as a former Trial Lawyer he should have know better also. As a man he should be ashamed of himself, he cheated on his dying wife, he denied the relationship with the other woman and he denied the child! He should run to the court and ask to be confined so he doesn't do anytrhing else wrong.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob from SC

    I am not a particular Edward's fan, but I do believe the charges against him are politically motivated to a significant degree. The entire case is built on an 11 yr old FEC "opinion"...not even a rule/law/or common practice....based on a letter they received from a donor in a totally unrelated case asking about what is and is not considered a "political" donation. Keeping his mistress quiet certainly helped his campaign, but I think most would agree it helped him out "personally" even more so....and THAT is not a campaign contribution. Admittedly, it is not "clear cut", but there is enough "gray" that if he were not a Republican he would simply have gotten a routine fine and be told to "balance" the books appropriately. It seems more likely that the beaurocrats in power ( and I claim to be a member of NEITHER party I might add), are simply smearing him with the hope that some dirt or "distaste" will stick to ANY "Republican" who might try to run in any future election . A form of "guilt by association" if you know what I mean.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JimS.

      Earth to Bob: John Edwards is a Democrat, not a Republican.
      Guess that sort of takes the wind out of your ridiculous partisan rant, don't it?

      June 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff in Illinois

      He IS a Democrat. He ran for president. Pay attention.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ecarlson

      Edwards is a democrat, not a republican.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. crsmith12

    Toobin: "Edwards indictment 'meant to embarrass him'"

    I would say Edwards did a good job of that all by himself.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Howard

    When you consider all the scrutiny we do put our candidates and elected politicians through, it's a wonder if there's anyone running for elected office who isn't a raving egomaniac. And this is precisely the sort of behavior you should expect from a raving egomaniac. So, what's the big surprise?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Daniel

    Here's a brilliant idea that might actually save the individual, free speech, and politics in our country why don't we just ban campaign finance PERIOD.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lee

    Edwards should be embarassed by his misappropriation of campaign funds for personal vanities, and indulgences (ie affairs).

    June 3, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
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