No other National Presidential Candidate has ever faced criminal charges like these that could have landed John Edwards in prison for thirty years. It was a charge of Campaign Finance Abuse. The headlines could have come from a bad soap opera but they were current and true. Yes, a Presidential Candidate who has a pregnant mistress kept hidden in high style in luxury hotels like the Four Seasons in Biltmore, Santa Barbara, California; and taken across the country in private jets. Hundreds of thousands of dollars stashed in a secret bank account the details read like a racy Hollywood script.
Disclosed for the trial are statements like pregnant with his child, invoice hotel bill at the Biltmore for $25,000, chartered airfare from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Aspen, Colorado $29,000. Bank account entries for deposits of $725,000 and $200,000. Blurbs come to light like destroy his candidacy, resulted in pregnancy, conspiracy, birth of child, extramarital affair. All are part of a Federal Criminal Indictment The United States Of America V. with the defendant Johnny Reid Edwards.
The former Democratic U.S. Senator went to trial in North Carolina. He was accused of misusing campaign funds in his failed Presidential bid and then lying about it. It has been a stunning fall from grace. Edwards was probably the best known successful trial lawyer in modern North Carolina history. He came out of nowhere to run for the U.S. Senate and won bringing him forward and catapulted himself onto the National stage.
Usually typical political corruption cases against politicians involve subjects where the office holder is selling something or an earmark or ambassadorship. In the case of Governor Blagojevich , he was selling a senate seat in exchange for personal or campaign support. None of that has happened here. The Prosecution’s main witness was Andrew Young who would probably testify what he said in his 2010 book titled The Politician.
There were two contributors that paid nearly a Million dollars to hide Rielle Hunter, John Edwards pregnant girlfriend from both the press and his wife Elizabeth who was dying from Cancer. The key question was , Is that money campaign funds? They could have argued that it wasn’t directed to his campaign because they didn’t pay for advertisements or polls but they did did keep his campaign viable. The defence claimed that the money went to Andrew Young. Why give an assistant a Million Dollars? Young already has credibility problems because he originally claimed that he was the father of the girlfriend’s baby. Boy was she getting action then. Edwards got a lot of people to lie for him in an attempt to save his ass. The government gave Young full immunity to testify.
Young was not the only one caught in a lie. In a ABC interview for television Edwards tells the reporter that it is NOT true that he is the father of Hunter’s baby. There is no defending John Edwards conduct. It was deplorable, loathsome, pick any adjective you want. He wasn’t just hiding his affair from the American people but from his Cancer stricken dying attorney mother of his many children’s wife. You really can’t get any lower than that.
It is no surprise that Melanie Sloan, a former prosecutor that now runs CREW a Washington ethics watchdog group shares this opinion and does not like John Edwards. Her website is called the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. What is surprising is that Sloan got it right. She believed that the case against him should be thrown out. And it was thrown out. John Edwards is out free on a mistrial.
If the Justice Department believes that the money, the Million dollars is a campaign contribution, they need to change the law to make it clearer. However, it doesn’t mean you get to prosecute somebody who had no notice that this was against the law and then try to create a crime that way. Federal prosecutors according to the justice department has spent” vast federal resources” to pursue this case. At least 56 FBI Agents were employed in the 4 year long investigation.
John Edwards knew it was a weak accusation and smugly went to trial saying,” I finally get my day in court.” He was offered a plea deal that would have involved a few months in Federal prison but more importantly Edwards would have been allowed to keep his law license. He smugly turned it down. It was an incredible gamble on his part , a real recklessness to it . Both sides took a very big risk and John Edwards with his perfect hair won and is out there a free man today.