State News

Judge in Edwards case to reconsider trial motions

Posted June 5, 2012

— The judge overseeing the John Edwards case will reconsider a pair of defense motions on whether the government tried the case in the right venue and whether prosecutors gathered evidence improperly.

A jury acquitted the former Democratic presidential candidate last week on one felony count of receiving illegal campaign contributions as he sought the White House in 2008 but deadlocked on the remaining five counts. Federal officials are weighing whether to retry Edwards on the unresolved charges.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ordered this week that the two sides prepare new briefs on whether two of the charges should be tried in a different federal court and whether prosecutors played an improper role in a civil lawsuit over ownership of a sex tape of Edwards and his mistress.

If the judge sides with the defense on the venue question, Edwards would be acquitted on two of the charges.

At issue is about $200,000 in cash, flights on private planes and luxury accommodations provided to Edwards' pregnant mistress by his campaign finance chairman, a wealthy Texas lawyer named Fred Baron.

The mistress, Rielle Hunter, was in hiding with Edwards' aide Andrew Young in Florida, Colorado and California when Baron provided the financial help in late 2007 and 2008, prompting questions from the defense team about venue.

Under federal law, some part of the alleged crime must have occurred in the federal judicial district where the charges are to be tried. In this case, that is the Middle District of North Carolina, which includes Edwards' home in Chapel Hill.

The first of the private jet flights provided by Baron took off from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which is in the neighboring Eastern District of North Carolina. The rest of the money spent by Baron while Hunter and Young occurred in other states.

On two prior occasions, Eagles has denied motions from Edwards' lawyers to dismiss the two charges for being brought in the improper venue. Prosecutors have argued that phone calls during which the parties plotted the cover-up with Baron were made or received in Chapel Hill, which was enough to establish venue in the Middle District.

The second matter Eagles revived this week has to do with reams of documents Young provided prosecutors after Hunter sued him in state civil court over a sex tape involving Edwards and other personal items that Hunter had left in a rental home. The documents were ordered to be kept under seal by a state judge, including a lengthy deposition Edwards gave in the civil case, but federal investigators issued a subpoena for the secret files, which Young and his lawyers provided.

After earlier deferring a ruling, Eagles on Tuesday order prosecutors to file a brief on the issue by June 25.

29 Comments

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  • nodoubt Jun 6, 2012

    enough with this one...stop wasting "your" time and "our" money...move on to the next one

  • rk1115 Jun 6, 2012

    ahh let him go already. I don't see what he did was wrong in anyway. He cheated used money to cover it up and got caught, what's the big deal? He couldn't get anything from his wife so he had to look somewhere else. And I can't wait for her book to hit the shelves I would love to read it.

  • ladyblue Jun 6, 2012

    Have they not learned anything in this case...they can't catch this man so let sleeping dogs lie..We have more pressing issues on how to spend taxpayer's money. Unless the ones dead can come back or the elderly lady can speak out against edwards this case is a done deal.

  • pebbles262004 Jun 6, 2012

    some of u posters need to give him a break on one thing..He can't help if he's cute!

  • gabewilliams12 Jun 5, 2012

    I wish they would just let those kids live in peace. He will never have peace for what he did to Mrs. Edwards.

  • Chipperoo Jun 5, 2012

    Leave the crook alone - our tax payer money can be spent on better things. We all know he is guilty and hopefully lost all respect from intelligent people! Let's move on.

  • itsmyownopinion Jun 5, 2012

    Sore losers.

  • superman Jun 5, 2012

    Any campaign law that does not address and/or prohibit personal gifts is useless. If a person is running for office campaign contibutions are limited. Anyone can give the person any amout of money and call it a gift. All of that money and you can call it anything you want a campaign contribution or a gift was intended to help him in his campaign. People just dont give away a million dollars to a stranger except on fictional stories on tv. I feel sorry for his parents that they couldnt afford to stay in a hotel during the trial and had to drive to court everyday.

  • RedfishOnFly Jun 5, 2012

    @caniac315 -- i agree that we don't need to hear anymore about this but as to your statement, the prosecutors did not initiate this, Edwards' defense team brought this us

  • sunshine1040 Jun 5, 2012

    Why are we wasting money on this just charge him with hiring a prostitute and lying to the public, Oops that means most if not all politicians would be in court and Ms Hunter with prostitution. If it is against the law for our Secret service to do so it should be for our politicians also

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