National News

Jurors: Evidence in John Edwards case fell short

Posted June 1, 2012

— Some of the jurors who heard the case against John Edwards said Friday that there just wasn't enough evidence to convict him of campaign finance violations.

Six of the jurors went on network talk shows Friday morning, a day after acquitting the former U.S. senators and two-time presidential candidate on one count and failing to reach a verdict on five other charges.

Prosecutors had charged Edwards with masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in campaign contributions from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for the White House in 2008.

"I think he was guilty, but the evidence was just not there for us to prove guilt," juror Cindy Aquaro, a special education teacher from Winston-Salem, said on NBC's "Today" show.

Another juror, Theresa Fuller, told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she also found the evidence lacking.

The eight-man, four-woman jury deliberated for about 50 hours over nine days before telling U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles on Thursday afternoon that they would never agree on verdicts on five of the six charges against Edwards.

The one charge they agreed he was not guilty of was accepting illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from Virginia heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. Mellon had funneled $725,000 in checks through a friend to Edwards aide Andrew Young in 2007 and 2008, but the last two checks were cashed after Edwards dropped out of the presidential race in January 2008.

Alternate juror Denise Speight told "CBS This Morning" that Edwards was outside the path of the cash from Mellon and Texas trial lawyer Fred Baron.

"All the money, (it) never went into the campaign," said Speight, who wasn't part of the deliberations. "(The payments) never went to John Edwards. Of the $1.8 million, $1.6 (million) went right to Andrew and Cheri Young."

John Edwards juror Jonathan Nunn Jurors remain split on Edwards' guilt

While juror Ladonna Foster, a human resources employee from the Surry County town of Pinnacle, said the government should retry the case, jury foreman David Recchion said changes need to occur first.

"I think there needs to (be a) change in the campaign finance law before you go through this process," Recchion, a financial consultant from High Point, said on "Today."

Jurors expressed frustration with the process, but Jonathan Nunn, a Chapel Hill plumber, said all 16 people on the jury, including the four alternates, got along well. Still, he said, there was no way they would have ever reached an agreement on any of the five charges.

"It was different. It was all different," Nunn told WRAL News of divisions within the jury on various charges.

He said he was relieved to put the trial behind him.

So was Wallace Edwards, who drove with his wife from their Robbins home every day to support their son during more than a week of jury selection, four weeks of testimony and nine days of jury deliberations.

"I thank God for his mercy," Wallace Edwards said Friday.

Lawyer: No winners in trial

A Raleigh lawyer who specializes in election law said he thinks the outcome of the Edwards case will have very little impact campaign finance regulations.

Michael Weisel said the U.S. Department of Justice went too far in trying to tie hush money over an affair to Edwards' campaign.

Raleigh lawyer Michael Weisel, election law expert Lawyer: No winners in Edwards trial

"Among the nationwide election law legal community, there was almost complete consensus that the government was really stretching on this one," Weisel said.

He said the legal spectacle damaged just about everyone involved, from Young, the government's star witness, to the defendant.

"I think what the jury was trying to determine is who lied the least," Weisel said. "There are no winners in this case whatsoever, not the Edwards children, not John Edwards, not Andrew Young, not Cheri Young, not their children and not the public.

"Anyone, including John Edwards, who believed he was vindicated in this trial is just plain wrong."

Because Eagles limited defense testimony from a former Federal Election Commission chairman and gave an interpretation of the law favorable to prosecutors, Weisel said this was the government's best chance to convict Edwards. He said he doesn't foresee any retrial of Edwards on the five charges on which the jury deadlocked.

Beyond election law, he said he sees one simple, profound message from the case: Don't have mistresses.


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  • Uhavenoclu Jun 1, 2012

    He's too good looking to be guilty of anything carolinacouple2u

    So a person according to you is guilty or not guilty depending on how they look?....Good thing you are not on a permanent jury for almost everyone in the state would be in prison.

  • oleguy Jun 1, 2012

    SOMEbody got paid,,, NO Dought about it ,,,

  • boneymaroney13 Jun 1, 2012

    quickdraw2 - you should have been tried with him (kidding). anyone who works for a politician who "sees two worlds" and has $250 hair cuts. what were you thinking?!!!

  • boneymaroney13 Jun 1, 2012

    GOOD LAWD!!!!! Don't let this jury be seated when they try Bev and her cronies!!

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 1, 2012

    Sour grapes, anyone? You can wash 'em down with a nice, hot cup of Haterade. Better luck next time,ya'll can go back to wailin' and gnashin' your teeth now. Good luck in 2072, GOP.....and remember to crucify a democrat that is actually running for office. Ya'll are a little slow, aint'cha? ;)

  • pirategirl12 Jun 1, 2012

    He's too good looking to be guilty of anything

    Wow...that made me puke in my mouth a little...

  • quikdraw2 Jun 1, 2012

    @ Objective Scientist. I noticed the same thing, and was suspect about him not seeking a second term, about not staying the course to gain more experience. But I really wanted him to succeed.

  • PeaceRH Jun 1, 2012

    He is guilty of being a dirtbag. I rolled my eyes at his entire speech... I wouldn't believe anything that comes out of that man's mouth. He has no morals at all. Pray for his children!

  • Objective Scientist Jun 1, 2012

    quikdraw2... I'm not "booing or spitting" and I can understand your "feelings". When John Edwards defeated Faircloth for the Senate - I was "proud"! I grew up in the same area as John, walked the same streets, played on the same ball fields/courts, worked the same summer jobs in the Robbins textile mill, etc. I was pulling for the "local guy" to "do good". But... I differ with you on "what could have been". After John decided not to seek a second term in the Senate and started looking for something "bigger" I begin to see a "change" in him... and it was not for the good. As I begin to look closer and closer to his positions on issues and how he was delivering his message... my support progressively weakened to the point I could not support him. I began to see a "lack of depth" and a quality of "disingenuousness". IMO... he was not qualified to be President and would not have been a good President. I'm glad what could have been... will never be - with regard to John being President.

  • ladyblue Jun 1, 2012

    Now i am confused. If he was found guilty of that isn't that campaign fraud?"- he wasn't found guilty of ANYTHING.

    right on. i missed a very important word called NOT i thought it read he was guilty.. well lets just say he couldn't be found guilty in the process of the law (so maybe laws need to be changed)but he wasn't left out of the complete loop here with this stuff going on. Too bad the witnesses were as unreliable as he was.