Local Politics

Week passes with no verdict in Edwards case

Posted May 25, 2012
Updated May 28, 2012

— Jurors in the John Edwards campaign corruption trial broke for a three-day holiday weekend Friday afternoon with no sign of an imminent verdict in the case.

The eight-man, four-woman jury has deliberated for 33 hours over the past six weekdays.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles closed the courtroom to the public Friday afternoon shortly before dismissing the jury for the day to discuss an undisclosed jury issue with prosecutors and defense attorneys.

The judge then admonished all 12 jurors and the four alternates, reminding them not to discuss the case outside of the jury room.

"All discussions of the case must occur only in the jury room and only when all 12 of you are present," Eagles said, adding that she would take up the issue when jurors return on Tuesday morning.

It was unclear whether the issue involved inappropriate discussions of the case, but legal experts said the judge handled the situation correctly by issuing a stern warning.

"You're empaneled with a very solemn responsibility – a man's liberty is at stake. You know by the packed courtroom this is an important issue," said Kieran Shanahan, a Raleigh lawyer and former federal prosecutor who has attended most of the trial.

If the issue requires replacing one of the jurors with an alternate, Shanahan said that would mean a longer wait for a verdict.

"When that alternate goes in there, the jurors will be told to forget the last week of deliberations," he said. "You cannot consider it. They'll take away the pad and the notes they made, and they'll be told begin the deliberations anew."

Sketch of alternate jurors in red Alternate jurors take center stage during wait for verdict

The government has accused Edwards, a former U.S. senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate, of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from Virginia heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Texas trial lawyer Fred Baron to help hide Edwards' pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.

Defense attorneys argued Edwards had little direct knowledge of the cover-up, which they say was directed by Baron and Edwards' one-time aide Andrew Young.

In their first four days of deliberations, jurors had asked to review more than 20 exhibits, but all were related to payments that Mellon had routed through a Charlotte interior decorator to Young and his wife. They appeared to shift their attention to Baron for the first time Thursday, asking for another 20 exhibits related to his payments.

Eagles then offered to send all 450-plus exhibits introduced during the nearly four weeks of testimony back to the jury room, and it's been unclear since then whether that has helped speed deliberations or simply bogged jurors down.

The four alternate jurors have been the talk of the courtroom since Thursday, when they all came dressed in yellow. On Friday, they all wore red, as did two of the regular jurors.

Observers said the coordinated outfits might just be their way of blowing off steam – the alternates must remain in a separate room, where they cannot discuss the case, but all 16 do eat lunch together. Eagles even smiled when she saw the alternates in their matching outfits Friday.


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  • beaulahjackson4 May 25, 2012

    If Edwards hadn't been married to his dying wife he probably would not have been up on charges. The jury out this long bodes really well for the defense.

  • beaulahjackson4 May 25, 2012

    I personally think what Edwards & the Youngs did was deplorible. I also think the charges against him and the trial unwarranted. If he hadn't

  • wildpig777 May 25, 2012

    all of a part of the conspiracy to let this joker go fREE-- THE CIA NEEDS TO BE CALLED IN.

  • storchheim May 25, 2012

    Someone actually wants JE after what he's proven he does to wives? Sometimes women just make me ashamed to be one. This is how all women get labeled as gold-diggers in some men's minds because no one could be so stupid as to consider him dating material, could she?

  • boneymaroney13 May 25, 2012


  • itsmyownopinion May 25, 2012

    EXCERPT: Since the alternates were identified last Thursday, it has been impossible to ignore the dynamic between Edwards and one of the female alternates, an attractive young woman with jet-black hair, who seems to have been flirting with Edwards for days.

    The juror clearly instigated the exchanges. She smiles at him. He smiles at her. She giggles. He blushes.

    The flirtation has become so obvious that even Edwards’ attorneys have to work to suppress their laughter at the absurdity of it all.


  • driverkid3 May 25, 2012

    One of the NY papers I read online each day said earlier that there was a juror flirting with edwards. I went back to look for it before I came in here, but evidently something has replaced that interesting little tidbit. I wonder if that's what all this is about? If it is, he or she needs to be replaced, because they aren't capable of making good judgement.

  • muggs May 25, 2012

    injameswetrust2003, Do you have some inside information as to his guilt or are you like everyone else just ringing your bell for attention,he has not done anymore than the rest who have gone after the WH other than actually getting a woman pregnant on his campaign,thats all this is about,some old rich woman was footing the bill so it cost you are me nothing,I hope he enjoys his holiday and walks out a free man next week,most have no idea as to what he really did, just making noise.

  • rk1115 May 25, 2012

    Muggs... he is the golden boy. I totally look up to him. Cheating on his wife, Using Campaign money to try to cover it up, and now possible flirting. He sure knows how to get the ladies. if it wasn't for his wife he wouldn't be in this situation at all.

  • greg69innc May 25, 2012

    John for Pres. I am tired of living in poverty and I know he has the right ideas to turn things aroung :D