Friday, May 25, 2018

Jury begins deliberations in John Edwards' campaign corruption trial

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The jury deliberated for about five hours Friday in John Edwards' campaign corruption trial involving money from wealthy donors that was used to hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 White House bid. Deliberations will resume Monday, but the jurors have already made several requests for evidence and office supplies, a sign they may be settling in for detailed discussions.

Jurors heard about 17 days of testimony, a lot of it focusing on the details of the lurid sex scandal between the Democratic candidate, his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and his once-trusted aide, Andrew Young, who initially claimed he was the father of his boss' baby. But they also reviewed phone and financial records from a period of about two years.

Edwards is charged with six criminal counts, including conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act, accepting contributions that exceeded campaign finance limits and causing his campaign to file a false financial disclosure report. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.

Jurors asked for eight exhibits and all of the notes from a wealthy heiress who provided about half of the money at issue. They also wanted a transcript of the heiress' lawyer's testimony, but the judge told them to rely on their memories. They said they needed markers and a board to write on, too.

Jurors will have to weigh whether to believe Edwards, who argued that he didn't knowingly break the law, or Young, who said Edwards recruited him to solicit secret donations in excess of the legal limit for campaign contributions, then $2,300.

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