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John Edwards Jury Deliberation Hits Sixth Day
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The fifth day of deliberation in the John Edwards trial ended on Thursday and jurors were sent home without reaching a verdict. The jury, made up of eight men and four women, asked to view 20 exhibits in the case. Judge Catherine C. Eagles said, “If you would like, we could send back all of the exhibits.” The foreman said, ‘Sounds like a great idea,’ prompting the judge to make a note in the court record that six jurors noted in approval at the idea of seeing all of the exhibits in the case.

Deliberations began last Friday after four weeks of testimony in the trial. On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the jury asked to see exhibits in association with multiple counts against Edwards, who ran as the 2004 Democratic vice president. The jury reconvened at 9:30a.m. on Friday in an effort to reach a verdict in the case. Edwards has been charged with falsifying documents, accepting illegal campaign contributions and conspiracy to receive and conceal contributions. Edwards faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1.5 million.

  
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It was argued by prosecutors during the trial that Edwards ‘knowingly and willingly’ accepted close to $1 million from wealthy donors in an effort to hide his affair with mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy. Prosecutors also claim that Edwards hid the funds by issuing false campaign disclosure reports. Edwards’ defense attorneys argued that the only thing their client was guilty of was being a bad husband to late wife Elizabeth, who passed away in 2010. The defense attorneys also argued that the former aide for Edwards, Andrew Young, used the funds to pay Hunter’s medical bills and hide the affair from Elizabeth.

“There is no question it would destroy the campaign of John Edwards,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon said.

Rachel Mellon sent Edwards a donation of $725,000 while Fred Baron sent him a donation of $200,000. Prosecutors allege that the money paid for the living and medical expenses of Hunter as well as her travel costs in an effort to keep her out of view from Elizabeth. The defense attorneys argued during the trial that the donations should not be thought of as contributions to the Edwards campaign.

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The prosecutors in the case claimed that Edwards used manipulation to get Young and others on his staff to prevent his affair from hitting the public eye. Young offered testimony that said he and his wife had Hunter move in with them at the request of Edwards once newspapers published stories about an alleged affair within his campaign. Initially, Young claimed to be the father of Hunter’s baby girl and that Mellon was funding the living expenses for Hunter. Young also testified that Baron told him to send a bill for Hunter’s expenses so he could offer reimbursement.





 

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