UPDATED John Edwards Trial: Judge Declares Mistrial

Updated, 4:40pm EST. The judge presiding over the trial of former US presidential candidate John Edwards has declared a mistrial after the jury was only able to reach a unanimous verdict on only one of the six counts. The jury found Edwards not guilty of a single count of not receiving illegal contributions.

After nine days, the jury in the trial of former US presidential candidate John Edwards has reached a verdict on one of the six counts against him and has been ordered to resume deliberation. MSNBC reports that a unanimous verdict has been reached on count 3, under which Edwards was charged with receiving contributions from billionaire heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon that were in excess of federal campaign contribution limits. The jurors have not yet indicated what the verdict was.

Federal prosecutors had charged the former senator and former vice presidential candidate with using illegal campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer he met during his 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination. Edwards is accused of using almost $1 million in campaign contributions from Mellon and Fred Baron, a now-deceased trial attorney, to hide Hunter’s pregnancy during his campaign. Edwards only admitted that the child was his two years ago; one of his aides, Andrew Young, had initially claimed paternity.

According to MSNBC, both Edwards’ own attorneys and federal prosecutors depicted him as a “liar and a bad husband,” differing about whether Edwards’ scheme to hide the affair amounted to a crime. Lead defense attorney Abbe Lowell said that Edwards’ conduct was “shameful” but “human.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon said that Edwards “clearly knew the law and decided to violate it in order to salvage his campaign” and that Edwards sought to “keep [Hunter] quiet” until the election ended and until “his wife passed away.” Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, was fighting breast cancer at the time he admitted paternity of the child; she died in December of 2010 after separating from him.

Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $1.5 billion on the six felony charges against him. Each count carries a maximum sentence of to 5 years and up to $250,000.

The jurors — eight men and four women, six of whom are white, five African-American and one Hispanic — are charged with deciding whether Edwards “knowingly and willfully” violated a 1971 campaign finance law by coordinating a plan to cover-up his affair with Hunter.


Related Care2 Coverage

Edwards Denies Reports That He Hired A Prostitute

Edwards Trial Will Begin In April

Edwards Indictment May Shape Campaign Finance Law


AP Photo/Chuck Burton


Bill C.
Bill C6 years ago

The remaining 5 charges have been dropped

So all of this BS simply took the salary of teachers, fire, police and health care workers due to its massive cost to the state of NC which is in dire financial need to keep the tabloid hungry happy.

Well done.

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

The tragedy here is what he did to Elizabeth. She gave her LIFE for him. I saw her interview on Larry King before she died and the pain in her eyes made me cry. Elizabeth got cancer BECAUSE of taking high doses of hormones during her pregnancies. She suffered so much to give HIM children and then when she got sick, he couldn't even WAIT until she died to knock up somebody else. He embarrassed her before the WORLD and HUMILIATED her. The WORST part of this is he is a ROLE MODEL for her own CHILDREN and for every AMERICAN BOY. John Edwards just told the world, THIS is how you treat WOMEN and you can GET AWAY WITH IT. Use them for breeders and then DUMP THEM. Even though men all over the world do the same thing, when men are in the PUBLIC SPOTLIGHT, they
are ROLE MODELS and people look UP TO THEM. They are held to a HIGHER STANDARD. This isn't about that lying, arrogant, self centered whore John Edwards, it's about Elizabeth. She deserves some RESPECT, some HONOR from the AMERICAN PEOPLE! She's a SAINT! ELIZABETH IS A SYMBOL OF WHAT HAS BEEN DONE TO
WOMEN FOR 2,000 YEARS! @^^# and tossed! John Edwards is just a maggot with money.

tina G.
tina Gardner6 years ago

a jury let casey anthony off....u think they are going to be able to figure this one out ?? the jury system sucks.

Dominic C.
Dominic C6 years ago

Kristina, politicians, celebs, the powerful, the elite, etc., they can always afford good attorneys. Remember John Edwards, himself, is a good lawyer. So how do you expect there is any justice at all since these jurists, themselves, know every loophole in the rulebook. The Judge is also not confident how this actually panned out in the end. Basically, the real losers are the tax payers (the ordinary people) because we just wasted millions in a trial that's likely to have any results. But the Federal Govt has no choice - not bringing a criminal trial against Edwards means that we embrace corruption. At least this trial is still a lesser of the two evils.

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

A liar, a bad husband, but not guilty of federal offenses? Hmmm.......

Jane Barton
Jane Barton6 years ago

He got off and he got off......

Ann Breeden
Ann Breeden6 years ago

I don't quite know how this man can show his face in public anymore.

marc page
Marc P6 years ago

He did not 'get away' with anything! The jury decided that what he did was illegal. John Edwards is an immoral piece of crap. And heartless to boot. But those of you who are wishing for a conviction because of this have really lost your sense of Constitutional values. I n this country people are allowed to do things that are repugnant. It is a part of the sacrifice we make for living in a free society. And because Edwards is a scumbag we would like to see him suffer for it. That is understandable. But convicting someone in a trial solely because he is unpopular is completely un American. And I am surprised at the sentiment prevalent here considering most Care2 members advocate for justice and fairness. From what I understand, the types of transactions that were in question have routinely been made in campaign financing for decades and was always considered completely legal - Until someone (Or Party....) had a political axe to grind. So if you want to hate Edwards because he is a heartless, amoral prick, that is fine. But stop advocating for a jury to find him guilty because you don't like him.

Glenna Jones-kachtik
Glenna Kachtik6 years ago

Sorry but the jury refused to declare him guilty on the Bunny thing. She gave him the money. She gave it to him willingly & she knew what it was for. She continued giving him funds AFTER he quit the campaign. He didn't use any of the funds she gave to him for the campaign. People are entitled to give people money.
The other part is deadlocked & they declared it a mistrial - according to what I heard. That means it is dead in the water.
You can call him a scumbag. You can hate him for what he did to Elizabeth. BUT he didn't do anything that Newt Gingrich didn't do; or Mark Sandefur; or any number of Republicans. You don't see any of them on trial for misuse of campaign funds, do you? If you are going to hate Edwards - you must also hate Gingrich.
There are 2 separate issues here & he didn't deserve to be on trial in the first place.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

Why do these politicians keep getting into trouble? Because they don't come out and tell the truth. This is my wife and this is my girlfriend and she is pregnant there how hard was that? Really who cares who is sleeping with who. Why don't they give us a politician who can be honest about the fact that he or she is human?