Prosecutors Drop All Charges Against John Edwards After Mistrial Declared
Federal prosecutors in the case against John Edwards dropped all charges after the judge declared a mistrial on the outstanding counts, People reports.
In May, Edwards was found not guilty of one count in his corruption case, but the jury failed to reach verdicts in the five remaining charges. The jury was then forced to return to deliberations by the judge, who refused to declare a mistrial at the time. Still, the mistrial was declared Wednesday.
Judge refuses to declare mistrial in John Edwards case; sends jury back to deliberate
The 2004 Democrat vice presidential nominee, 58, was charged with illegally using almost $1 million in unreported campaign contributions to conceal his then-pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, during his 2008 presidential campaign.
"We knew that this case — like all campaign finance cases — would be challenging," Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division said in a statement Wednesday. "But it is our duty to bring hard cases when we believe that the facts and the law support charging a candidate for high office with a crime. The jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on five of the six counts of the indictment, however, and we respect their judgment. In the interest of justice, we have decided not to retry Mr. Edwards on those counts."
John Edwards indicted on charges for allegedly using campaign finances to conceal affair
Edwards faced a maximum of 30 years in jail if found guilty of all six counts. During the trial, the defense argued that Edwards committed no crime because he did not believe that money spent by his wealthy friends to hide Hunter could be considered campaign contributions.
"We are grateful that the Justice Department, after hearing from the jury, has dismissed the remaining charges in this case," Edwards' attorneys said in a statement. "As we stated in our motions and arguments in court, the novel theory of campaign law violations charged by the Justice Department is not a crime."
Edwards' affair with Hunter, a videographer for his campaign, produced a daughter, Francis Quinn, who was born in 2008. He initially publicly denied that he was the father, until he claimed paternity in 2010. In early 2010, he also split from wife Elizabeth Edwards after more than 30 years of marriage. She passed away that December after a long battle with breast cancer.