Local Politics

Judge allows campaign case against Edwards to proceed

Posted October 27, 2011

— A federal judge on Thursday denied several defense motions calling for the dismissal of campaign finance charges against two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Edwards is scheduled to be tried in January on charges that he asked two wealthy campaign donors to provide nearly $1 million in secret payments used to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic Party's nomination for the White House in 2007 and early 2008.

"What's important now is that I now get my day in court. After all these years, I finally get my day in court, and people get to hear my side of this and what actually happened," Edwards said as he left the federal courthouse in Greensboro.

"What I know with complete and absolute certainty is I didn't violate campaign laws, and I never for a second believed I was violating campaign laws," he said.

Edwards' lawyers argued all day Wednesday and again Thursday morning that federal law doesn't define a campaign contribution as money "provided by a third party to another third party" that never went through a campaign account.

They also argued that the former U.S. senator was targeted by former U.S. Attorney George Holding, a Republican appointee who contributed to the campaigns of Edwards' opponents and whose mentor was blocked from a federal judgeship by Edwards.

Edwards' national campaign finance chairman, wealthy Texas lawyer Fred Baron, and millionaire socialite Rachel "Bunny Mellon" supplied checks, cash and private jets to move Rielle Hunter, who was pregnant with Edwards' child, across the country to hide her from the media. Both Baron and Mellon had already given the campaign the maximum $2,300 individual contribution allowed by law.

Much of the undisclosed money was funneled to Andrew Young, a close aide to Edwards who left the campaign and falsely claimed paternity of the senator's illegitimate child. Young and his wife invited the pregnant Hunter to live in their home near Chapel Hill and later traveled with her as tabloid reporters sought to expose the candidate's extramarital affair.

John Edwards outside court Edwards says he's eager for trial

Prosecutors countered that Edwards knew about the money and that he personally directed its use to support Hunter. He was not a cheating husband trying to hide his affair from his wife, they argued, but a public figure who had built his reputation as a family man desperate to keep his campaign from blowing up.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said she had concerns about some of the government's arguments, such as the fact that the money never went through Edwards' campaign and the fact that some of it was paid after he dropped out of the 2008 race. Still, she said, it would be better to address those concerns during a trial, when all of the evidence is laid out.

"She said, 'I'm going to kick that can down the road, but that can has some dents in it,'" said Abbe Lowell, Edwards' lead attorney.

Prosecutors declined to comment after the court hearing.

Lowell expressed confidence that a jury would be convinced that Edwards didn't break any laws.

"We know what the facts are," he said. "When that evidence comes out, it's not going to be that they can change (the facts), and when that happens, we expect we will prevail."


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  • censorbait Oct 28, 2011

    His lawyers have "judge shopped" and landed a dilly. Appointed by Hunt and later by Obama, her verdict will be a very predictable "not guilty" after a brief dog and pony show in the courtroom for appearances sake. Ole Johnny will walk after his liberal fellow traveler rules in his favor. If she had a conservative politician in front of her with the same set of facts, she would fry them.

  • itsmyownopinion Oct 28, 2011

    President Obama is not a clown. Clowns make people laugh and feel good.

    You must have missed him on Leno Tuesday.

  • IndependentAmerican Oct 28, 2011

    "I think he should run for president, will fit right in with the clown that is in office now."

    President Obama is not a clown. Clowns make people laugh and feel good.

  • IndependentAmerican Oct 28, 2011

    "What I know with complete and absolute certainty is I didn't violate campaign laws, and I never for a second believed I was violating campaign laws,"
    This from the man who stated outright "The story is totally, utterly, absolutely false" when first asked about an affair with Ms. Hunter and a possible child. So who would believe him now?
    Based on the lawsuit, let the facts be presented in court and let them decide.

  • pappybigtuna1 Oct 28, 2011

    there is not a woman alive that he violated his wedding or marrage viles with. He has not cheated on any other woman in the entire world.

    Why do folks want his hide nailed to the barn door? He did not cheat on them. He got some money to help with an affair? Look at the cost of this case, very sure it will top 2 million dollars, in bad economic times (investigators, lawyers, judges, clerical, boxes and boxes of copied paper and so on)

    When is someone in high places going to ask about Libby Dole taking $400,000.00 in campaign maoney and puting it in her personal bank account?

  • HeadPro Oct 28, 2011

    "What I know with complete and absolute certainty is I didn't violate campaign laws, and I never for a second believed I was violating campaign laws,"

    You know that sound the adults make on the old Charlie Brown cartoon shows? Yea... that one. That's what Edwards and all other politicians sound like to me... wawoawwwoooaowoawoawooa.

  • itsmyownopinion Oct 28, 2011

    I'll be here to pass out the tissues when he's acquitted. Why does everyone want him to go to jail so badly? The harm he did was to himself, his friends and his family.

  • Objective Scientist Oct 28, 2011

    Hmmm... interesting assortment of posts. Some say "JAIL" - some say "NO JAIL" - some don't even want a trial, while some do - some use the opportunity to criticize others in addition to Edwards, etc., etc. I grew up in the same area as Edwards and when he entered the political arena I wanted the "home town boy" to "do good" and be successful. As I learned more about him and observed him... I could see that his "thinking" and mine, and his values and mine, were not as similar as I initially thought they would be. Then... THEN... all this mess with Hunter, etc. Did Edwards break any laws? I don't know... if he did and jail time is appropriate for the laws broken, he should serve the time. If he did not... no jail time. Nevertheless, Edwards is decidedly "GUILTY" of violating the public's trust and for that he has paid and will continue to pay a price. I certainly hope no one will ever again support him for a "political position", or any position of trust, from this point on...

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 28, 2011

    Johnny said "I now get my day in court", I wonder if he will be so happy about getting his day in jail?
    October 27, 2011 5:18 p.m.
    Report abuse
    What you smoken? No jail time , no way no how.

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 28, 2011

    Of course the judge is going to let the trial go on, that how they make their money and justify having a job. Worse day in America history is when it allow lawyers to be elected to run it.