The Big Story

John Edwards election fraud trial

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On May 31, 2012, a North Carolina jury returned a verdict of not guilty on one of six charges against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. The judge in the case declared a mistrial on the remaining five counts related to nearly $1 million in payments made by two campaign donors to help hide Edwards’ pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.

On June 13, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement that said prosecutors would not seek to retry Edwards on the five unresolved counts.

The money at issue in the Edwards case flowed to Andrew Young, a former campaign aide who initially claimed the baby was his. Young is expected to be a key witness for the prosecution. The mistress, Rielle Hunter, may testify as part of Edwards’ defense.

Edwards was a married father of three when he was selected to be Sen. John Kerry’s vice-presidential running mate in 2004. Considered a rising star in the Democratic party, he sought the presidency himself in 2008, but was forced to quit the race when news of the affair broke.

Edwards and his wife Elizabeth separated in 2010 after he acknowledged paternity of Hunter’s daughter following years of adamant public denials. Elizabeth Edwards, who had battled cancer since 2004, died in December 2010.

— From staff and wire reports