John Edwards not guilty on one count, mistrial on remaining counts
GREENSBORO, N.C. — A knowledgeable law enforcement official says it is unlikely that the Justice Department will retry John Edwards.
The official made the comment after the campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity about the case regarding an issue that will undergo much review inside the government in the coming days.
Edwards thanked jurors and his family after a mistrial was declared in his campaign corruption trial and says he is responsible for his sins.
“I want to first thank the jurors for their incredible hard work and diligence. They took their job very seriously – we saw that during the trial. The attention they paid to the evidence and lawyers,” Edwards said.
Edwards was accused of masterminding a plan to use money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress during his run for the White House in 2008.
Before leaving the courthouse on Edwards, he took a moment to speak to reporters.
“I don’t think God is through with me. I really believes there’s some good things I can do. Whatever happens with this legal stuff going forward, what I’m hopeful about is that all those kids I’ve seen in the poorest parts of this country and the poorest parts of the world, is that I can help them,” Edwards said.
Edwards speaking on the courthouse steps on Thursday also choked up when speaking of his 4-year-old daughter whom he conceived with his mistress while running for president.
“And finally, my precious Quinn, whom I love more than any of you could ever imagine. I’m so close to her and so grateful for Quinn,” Edwards said.
Edwards also said he believes he did nothing illegal, but that he did an “awful, awful lot” that was wrong and that no one else was responsible for his sins but him.
“I want to make sure everyone hears from me and my voice that while I do not believe I did anything illegal, or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong,” said Edwards.
Read the entire statement from Edwards at the bottom of this story.
Edwards did not react when the verdict and mistrial were announced, but 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 acquittal and mistrial highlighted a day of confusion when the judge mistakenly believed jurors had reached a verdict on all six counts.
Instead, the jury told the judge they had a unanimous decision on only one charge, and the panel was sent back to the jury room for more talks. About an hour later, the jury sent the note to the judge saying it had exhausted talks.
Prosecutors accused Edwards of knowing about roughly $1 million being funneled to former aide Andrew Young and the candidate’s mistress Rielle Hunter. They also said he was well aware of the $2,300 legal limit on campaign donations.
The weekslong trial has gone into the most intimate details of a sordid sex scandal that effectively ended Edwards’ political career and the elaborate cover-up that involved his most trusted aide, the aide’s wife, and the two wealthy donors.
Edwards’ lawyers have argued that the ex-U.S. senator never knew that taking the money violated campaign finance law, and that his personal transgressions weren’t illegal.
The jury has made more news in recent days of the trial, as Eagles has closed the court to discuss unspecified issues with jurors. Four alternate jurors began wearing matching colored shirts to court and one of them was said to be exchanging smiles with Edwards. Eagles told the alternates on Wednesday that they no longer needed to come to court during deliberations.
The jurors, whose identities have been withheld throughout the trial, asked to see dozens of trial exhibits during deliberations, relating to Mellon and Baron’s donations.
Mellon, who is 101 years old, did not testify. Baron died in 2008.
Elizabeth Edwards died in late 2010.
Transcript of entire statement to press on the steps of the Guilford County Courthouse:
“I want to first thank the jurors for their incredible hard work and diligence. They took their job very seriously – we saw that during the trial. The attention they paid to the evidence and lawyers. Now, they’ve spent almost 9 full days deliberating trying to reach a fair and just result under the evidence and the law. All I can say is thank goodness we live in a country that has the system we have. I think those jurors were an exemplar for what jurors are supposed to do in this country. The second thing I want to say just a word about is ‘responsibility.’ And this is about me. I want to make sure everyone hears from me and my voice that while I do not believe I did anything illegal, or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. There is no one else responsible for my sins… I am responsible. And if I want to find the person who should be held accountable for my sins, honestly I don’t have to go any further than the mirror. It is me and me alone. The next thing I want to say is about the people that I love. It’s been an incredible experience for me to watch my parents – my dad just turned 80, my mom is 78 – tromp up here from Robbins, North Carolina every day to be with me and support me. And I love them so much. They did such a wonderful job raising me and my brother and sister, whom I love dearly. I also want to say something about my children. Cate has been here every single day. No matter how awful and painful a lot of the evidence was for her. Evidence about her dad, evidence about her mom… whom she loves so dearly….she never once flinched. She said ‘Dad, I love you. I’m there for you.’ And finally, Emma who turned 14 recently, and Jack, who just turned 12, whom I take care of every day. I haven’t been able to see them quite as much, but I see them in the morning, I get their breakfast ready and then I get home at night and we all eat supper. I love them both so dearly and they’re an important part of my life. And finally, my precious Quinn, whom I love more than any of you could ever imagine. I’m so close to her and so grateful for Quinn. I’m grateful for all my children, including my son Wade who we lost a few years. I don’t think God is through with me. I really believe there’s some good things I can do. Whatever happens with this legal stuff going forward, what I’m hopeful about is that all those kids I’ve seen in the poorest parts of this country and the poorest parts of the world, is that I can help them. And in whatever way I’m still capable to helping them, I want to dedicate my life to being the best dad I can be, and helping those kids who I think deserve help and who I think I can help. Thank you all very much.”