(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — After a week of deliberations, the four alternate jurors have become the prime distraction for the assembled press corps and spectators in the courtroom.
On Thursday, the alternates — three women and one man — caused something of a stir when they showed up in matching bright yellow shirts, hardly bothering to suppress their snickering as the judge addressed the main panel of jurors.
For nearly four weeks, 16 jurors heard all the evidence in Edwards’ case. After the closing arguments, Judge Catherine Eagles made the unorthodox decision to extend the service of the four alternate jurors, while the primary panel of 12 deliberated the six felony charges. So, for the last five days of deliberations, the gang of four alternates has been required to show up at court each day, sent to a holding room with instructions to avoid talking about the case.
Since the alternates were identified last Thursday, it has been impossible to ignore the dynamic between Edwards and one of the female alternates, an attractive young woman with jet-black hair, who seems to have been flirting with Edwards for days. She smiles at him; he smiles at her. She giggles; he blushes.
The flirtation has become so obvious that even Edwards’ attorneys have to work to suppress their laughter at the absurdity of it all.
The jury returns on Friday to resume deliberations for a sixth day. Edwards is accused of using nearly $1 million in campaign donations to hide his affair with his mistress Rielle Hunter. If convicted, he could be sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison and fined as much as $1.5 million.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Chuck Johnston, CNN Newswire