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. jj

    in the words of evander holyfield.... politricks!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tony

    What indictment isn't embarrassing?

    June 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Frank

    Mr. Toobin,
    One of the allegations from the government is based upon a note about the HAIR CUT. Relevant to the alleged violation of law.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Moses composes

    Interesting how Jeffrey Toobin finds this embarrassing...he knows from Baby Mama drama.
    At least he isn't a hyporcrite like Newt and Dan Burton trying to crucify Clinton while hiding their own affairs.

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

    Ditto Anthony's=web polluting troll

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

    Good. Ego still drives this embarrassment of a man (?). Willing to drag this whole mess of his doing to keep his law license at the expense of his children. And his children's memory of their mother. Johnny Reid takes shameful to a new level.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anthony's Case Posts

    There is virtually no way this gal is going to get a “not guilty” verdict for this. Her lawyers know their best shot is to try to keep her off death row altogether, or “On” Death Row…..but out of the Death Chamber as long as possible.
    This is absolutely, bar one, the worst lawyering I’ve ever, ever, ever seen! Baez can’t put a proper question together to save his soul.

    Does anyone besides me think that he may be actually shooting far down the road ,in the Appellate Courts, for a re=trial based on Ineffective Assistance of Council in this trial??? It would necessitate another trial and years and years more delay before eventual punishment. In a sick way, he would be doing his job.

    What do Y’all think? Crazy….or Crazy like a fox???

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jdurand

      I think you posted this response to the wrong news story. That's what I think.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Republicano

    Another example of corrupt Democrats illegally using funds that are not theirs to spend. Just another crooked Democrat. Bill Clinton, Elliot Spitzer, Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards. All of them want our money to fund their lifestyles. Since they have no morality to uphold everything is free game for democrats. This is why I prefer to keep my money and spend it how I see fit and not surrender it to clowns like these. Tell me again how much better John Edwards is than Dick Cheney? I never trusted the slick Edwards and it is disgraceful what he did to his dying wife.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John, TN

      How much better than Dick Cheney??? Edwards, as sleezy as he is, never sent American soldiers to their death for profit. Let us not compare MUSHROOM CLOUDS.......

      June 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey

      Yes whereas serving your wife with divorce papers while in hospital undergoing chemotherapy reeks of class. The party doesn't matter – people do stupid things.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • awaysaway

      Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...

      June 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JBri

      Let's not forget John Ensign and Newt Gingrich who had affairs while in Congress, they probably used campaign funds or donors to help cover them up. Newt was even a double dipper but at least he married each of them. Oh wait, they are Republican so I guess it doesn't count.

      June 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alleygator

      Interesting to see what sort of blowback this effort might have on Republicans if the charges stick. John Ensign and Christine O'Donnell come to mind immediately, but there are many, many others.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carol

    If John Edwards were any ole ordinary person I might ignore his antics; but this guy could have become the President of the US; any they are and should be held to a higher standard. I liked Edwards; but what he did was reprehensible. My other problem with this situation is that Edwards is a wealthy man; why in the world would he use other people's money to take care of his trollop. Not once has he said "I used my own money". Nah; I think there's something to this.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Snowowl123

    And sometimes those charges are written to let the "innocent" defender who thinks he can bully his way with bluffing and threats to "take the charges to the Supreme Court, if necessary" that he should have taken a plea because he's not as far above the law as he might believe. Haircuts, who cares? We all know about paying outrageous prices for haircuts in Los Angeles two days apart while campaigning.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sliq

    the fact is that everyone makes mistakes. I bet most of the people posting damning comments about this man might have been/ have though of doing the same thing (i.e cheating). when you think about it, you realize that We live in a world where you can't hold religious leaders to higher standards anymore, muchless a lawyer/politician. I think he has served his due...he lost his wife and he probably faces the scorn of his dissapointed children. what he did is not/shouldn't be passable, but common! You damn hypocrites should let him breath.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • KB

      Um...Using illegally accepted campaign contributions to cover-up an action that could change a presidential election is kind of important. Just like with Clinton, it's not that he did something stupid (none of us are perfect, sadly) and extremely hurtful to his family, it's that he defrauded the voters. That is illegal, as it should be. Cheating isn't.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chicago

    Hey Toobin, are you suggesting we should feel sorry for this piece of garbage? When his wife was alive do you think she felt insulted? Take your "we should feel sorry for the crook" mentality somewhere else. He's a disgrace and deserves to be shamed.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    By the way, John Edwards is not a Republican. The bottom line is that you have to ask yourself would any of those donors given money to keep his mistriss quiet if he were not running for President? I think not and as such it is nothing but a political contribution.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • KB

      If Toobin were a REAL reporter, he would have explained to you that:
      – Edwards illegally accepted contributions that were MANY TIMES the legal limit from these donors
      – He used those illegally-accepted contributions to defraud the American voters by conspiring to conceal information relevant to the campaign
      If he were a Republican, I feel certain Toobin would have made these points.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    Anyone who has been around the world knows that high style haircuts start at $150 just for a basic mans cut. Stylists that work on major stars etc bring a premium so I can easily see how a haricut could cost up to $2000. There are salons here in town that charge $600 a pop all day long to rich women that need lots of poof to stay on the arms of their millionaire studs.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alton

    District Attorneys and Judges(including the US Supreme Court) are so mixed up in politics of late, its hard to say just who is guilty or not. The Chicago situation is definitely a point in question. Its a mixed up world we live in AND
    unfortunately getting worse. Who was that Greek or Roman historian that went searching in broad daylight looking
    for one honest man ?????? Except me and thee, and I'm beginning to wonder about thee.

    June 3, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
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