John Edwards? He lucked out, or has very good lawyers, or perhaps a little bit of both. The former Democratic presidential candidate will not do any jail time for the six counts of campaign finance fraud that were against the fallen star senator. Edwards was the center of a scandal where he and his aid attempted to cover up Edwards’ affair (and later baby) with Rielle Hunter. Many assumed that he would be found very much guilty and would surely do jail time. But that was not the case; not even close. He was found not guilty on just one of the six counts. The other five? The jury was deadlocked. The judge had no choice but to declare a mistrial.
Apparently the eight men and four women who made up the jury could not decide on – without question – the guilt or innocence of the counts of finance fraud. This was after, as the Los Angeles Times reports, “three weeks of testimony by 24 witnesses, prosecutors focused on the tawdry details of the affair and the attempts to keep it secret. Jurors heard salacious details of trysts between Edwards and Hunter, and descriptions of madcap trips across the country to hide a pregnant Hunter – and later her daughter – from pursuing National Enquirer reporters.” The jury was presented with quite a saga. They had deliberated for nine days but after all that, a unanimous decision could not be made, except on one count.
When Edwards received the good news in court he reportedly hugged his daughter, parents and lawyer saying, “Thank you, thank you all.” But this may not be the end of it. The government can decide to seek a new trial on the five counts that were undecided.
Do you think that the powers that be should bring it to trial again, or would our courts resources be better spent working on other cases?