Saturday, April 21, 2018

Edwards jurors open up in morning TV interviews

Three jurors in the federal corruption trial of former Sen. John Edwards said Friday that they believed Edwards was guilty of at least one of the campaign-finance charges against him but that the government failed to prove its case.

"I think he definitely had some knowledge of where the money was going, especially the money from Mrs. Mellon," said one juror, Ladonna Foster, in an interview on NBC's Today program. She was speaking of the heiress Rachel Mellon, who gave more than $750,000 to help Edwards.

Foster and her fellow jurors Cindy Aquaro and David Recchion, the foreman, also said that the credibility of the government's star witness, Andrew Young, a former aide to Edwards, had been a major concern for the jurors, who deliberated for nine days.

Edwards was acquitted on one of the six charges, which was based on a $200,000 check from Mellon. The jury remained deadlocked on the five other counts, and a mistrial was declared.

Edwards, 58, was charged with using almost $1 million in campaign funds — his lawyers said they were personal gifts from friends — to hide a mistress and the child of that relationship while he sought the 2008 presidential nomination.

On ABC's Good Morning America, three other jurors said that they did not think there was enough evidence to convict Edwards.

Jonathan Nunn said he voted "not guilty" on all six counts because he viewed the money as a personal gift, not a campaign contribution to Edwards. He said a small group of jurors had thought otherwise, which is what extended the deliberations.

Two other jurors, Theresa Fuller and Sheila Lockwood said on ABC that they did not think there was enough evidence presented to find Edwards guilty.

"I felt like the evidence just wasn't there," said Fuller, who added that she did not think the federal government should have brought the case at all.

Asked why it was so difficult to reach a guilty verdict despite doubts about Edwards' innocence, Aquaro said Edwards was smart enough to hide the evidence.

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