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Thu May 31, 2012
Jury Has Reached A Verdict In The John Edwards Trial
Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 4:02 pm
Update at 4:24 p.m. ET. Not Guilty:
A jury in Greensboro, N.C. has found John Edwards not guilty on one count and the judge has declared a mistrial on the other five charges, the AP reports.
The one charge Edwards was acquitted of, as we told your earlier, "involved a charge that Edwards received an illegal campaign contribution from Virginia Heiress Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon."
The verdict comes after a dramatic and chaotic day in which U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles asked the jury to continue deliberating but shortly after, the jury told the judge they were still deadlocked.
As CNN reports, the judge took them at their word and declared the mistrial. Now prosecutors must decide whether to retry Edwards on the other charges.
The former senator and 2008 presidential candidate was facing six felony charges stemming from allegations that he violated election laws when he allegedly tried to cover up an affair with Rielle Hunter using campaign money.
The AP reports that Edwards did not react as the jury read its verdict and the judge declared the mistrial.
"He was happy and smiling about an hour earlier when the jury said it had reached a verdict on one count after nine days of deliberations," the AP reports.
Update at 4:58 p.m. ET. All The Confusion:
The New York Times does a good job at unpacking all the confusion in the courtroom today. According to the paper, the confusion was set in motion when the jurors sent the judge a note that they had "finished their deliberations and have arrived at our decision on counts one through six."
When Eagles called the jury in, they revealed they had only reached a unanimous verdict on one count. Prosecutors asked Eagles to ask them to keep deliberating and Edwards' defense team asked Eagles to accept the verdict on that one count and declare a mistrial on the other five counts.
Eagles sent the jury back to deliberate further, telling them it was likely that no other jury could do a better job. About an hour later, the jury was back in the courtroom, still deadlocked on the five charges.
NPR's Carrie Johnson tells us that two federal sources tell her that the Justice Department is "exceedingly unlikely" to pursue another trial.
"Given the complicated nature of the campaign finance questions at issue and the amount of resources that have already been devoted to the case, prosecutors may not want to throw good money after bad," Johnson tells us.
Update at 5:14 p.m. ET. 'Awful Lot That Was Wrong':
On the courthouse steps, Edwards said that he never thought he was breaking the law, but admitted that he had done an "awful, awful lot that was wrong."
"No one is responsible for my sins," Edwards said. "I am responsible."
Edwards went on to thank his children, especially his daughter whom he said sat through every day of the trial.
"She's been there no matter what," he said. And despite hearing hurtful testimony about his ex-wife and himself, she still told her father, "I love you."
Our Original Post And Updates Continue:
Update at 3:13 p.m. ET. One Count:
The jury in the John Edwards trial has reached a unanimous verdict on one count, but it is deadlocked on the five others, the AP and Reuters are reporting.
The judge accepted the verdict on the one count, but asked the jurors to keep deliberating on the other charges.
The bottom line: deliberations, which are on its ninth day, continue.
The News And Observer reports that the jury reached a verdict on count three, which "involved a charge that Edwards received an illegal campaign contribution from Virginia Heiress Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon."
Update at 3:41 p.m. ET. Confusion:
The AP explains the confusion that surrounded the initial report that jurors had reached a verdict: U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles thought the jury had reached a unanimous verdict on all six counts.
When she realized that wasn't the case, she apologized for having called everyone into the courtroom and told the jurors to keep deliberating.
Our Original Post Continues:
After nearly nine days of deliberations, the jurors in the trial against John Edwards have reached a verdict, Reuters is reporting.
The former senator and 2008 presidential candidate is facing six felony charges stemming from allegations that Edwards violated election laws when he allegedly tried to cover up an affair with Rielle Hunter using campaign money.
"Edwards is accused of conspiring to get more than $900,000 from two wealthy donors to keep voters from learning he was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2010.
"The defense says the supporters' money was meant as a personal gift to shield Elizabeth Edwards from her husband's indiscretions, not to influence the election.
"The two-time presidential hopeful who served as the Democrats' 2004 vice presidential nominee faces possible prison time and fines if found guilty of any of six felony counts."
We're monitoring this story and will update this post as soon as the jury reads its verdict in a Greensboro, North Carolina court. There is no indication when that will be.
Update at 3:06 p.m. ET. Ordered To Resume Deliberations:
NBC News, the AP and Reuters say the jury appears deadlocked on the other five counts. The judge, NBC reports, ordered the jury to keep deliberating on the other counts.
Update at 2:56 p.m. ET. Jury Reaches Verdict On One Count:
Reuters and AP are reporting the Jury has reached a verdict on one count.
Update at 2:47 p.m. ET. The Case:
As The Washington Post reported when the indictment was first handed down, the heart of this case is whether the money given to Hunter by Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron was intended as a campaign donation.
Edwards' defense team argued that Edwards thought the money was to protect his wife from his indiscretions.
Update at 2:38 p.m. ET. In Minutes:
The AP just moved this alert:
"Jurors reach verdict in John Edwards' campaign finance fraud case, to be read within minutes."