Edwards jury seeks more exhibits during deliberations
Posted May 21, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The jury deciding the fate of John Edwards finished a second day of deliberations Monday without reaching a verdict.
Jurors requested several emails Monday afternoon involving money from Virginia heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. On Friday, they asked for copies of notes from Mellon to Edwards and former aide Andrew Young, along with other exhibits tied to the money.
Prosecutors have 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 Mellon and Texas trial lawyer Fred Baron to help hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, 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, his campaign finance chairman, and Young.
Neither Edwards nor Hunter took the witness stand during the nearly four weeks of testimony.
Sara Williams-Robbins and Ann Britt-Dingman, who both graduated from North Moore High School with Edwards in 1971, went to the federal courthouse in Greensboro on Monday to lend their support to their former classmate.
"He was just a good person all around and still is a good person, and I don’t think that he’s committed a crime," Williams-Robbins said.
"You know, everybody makes mistakes, but as far as breaking the law, I don’t think that’s what happened," Britt-Dingman said. "We’re just here to support him and let him know that we love him."
The jury began its deliberations Friday and resumed Monday, putting in more than 10 hours over the two days.
"While the jury's out, it's pure torture," said Raleigh lawyer Kieran Shanahan, a former federal prosecutor who attended much of the trial. "It's certainly torture for John Edwards not knowing what his fate is going to be, now that it's in the hands of 12 jurors who he can't control.
"It's equally hard for the lawyers," Shanahan continued. "The U.S. Department of Justice does not have a good track record in these (public corruption) cases, so they want a win to show that they have a good understanding of the law.
"Abbe Lowell and the defense team who left nothing – nothing – on the table to help John Edwards in this case, they all are just wondering right now, 'Did we do enough,'" Shanahan said.
Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all six campaign finance corruption charges.
Because he has no prior criminal history, Edwards would likely face no more than four or five years behind bars under federal sentencing guidelines if convicted, Shanahan said.