The jury in the federal campaign finance trial of former U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards reached a verdict on one of six counts after almost two weeks of deliberations in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The U.S. judge ordered the panel to continue deliberations on the remaining charges without disclosing its decision on the one count. On that charge, the government alleged that in 2008 Edwards knowingly accepted more money from campaign donor Rachel “Bunny” Mellon than was allowed by law.
Edwards, a Democrat, was indicted in June following a two- year investigation. He is charged with illegally using almost $1 million in campaign contributions from Mellon and Fred Baron, a now-deceased trial attorney, to conceal his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter. A former U.S. senator from North Carolina, vice presidential candidate in 2004 and presidential contender in 2008, he faces as long as five years in prison if convicted on any of the six counts.
“It’s not surprising that they are splitting on the verdict, because the case is about splitting hairs on whether the money was being used to fool a wife or to fool the election committee,” said Roy Futterman, a jury consultant with DOAR Litigation Consulting. “It’s hard to judge intent. Jurors may decide either way depending on how they see Edwards as a man.”
The case is U.S. v. Edwards, 11-00161, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro).
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