John Edwards Jury Deliberations Move On to Second Donor’s Cash
(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — After nearly a week of deliberations jurors in the John Edwards trial have yet to reach a verdict, methodically working their way through six criminal charges and a month’s worth of testimony about how the former presidential candidate allegedly used campaign donations to cover up a torrid illicit affair.
Jurors ended their fifth day of deliberations Thursday, after requesting exhibits concerning counts 4 and 5 of the indictment, both of which deal with funds from millionaire political donor Fred Baron that were used to help hide Edwards’ mistress Rielle Hunter.
Among the evidence jurors are reviewing is a note Baron wrote to Edwards’ aide Andrew Young, accompanying an envelope full of cash.
“Old Chinese saying: Use cash, not credit cards,” read the note, which Baron wrote in December 2007, weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
The cash was sent to a Florida hotel, where Young was staying with Hunter to keep her out of view from an increasingly inquisitive press corp.
Jurors also requested Young’s bank statement, in which he had received a $20,000 deposit from Baron and another $725,000 from another wealthy Edwards supporter, millionaire heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon.
Edwards is charged with six counts of violating federal campaign laws and was accused by the government of soliciting nearly $1 million from Baron and Mellon to finance a cover-up of his affair and illegitimate child while running for president in 2008.
For much of this week jurors focused on counts 2 and 3 of the indictment. Those charges all concerned donations Mellon made to aid the cover-up in 2007 and 2008.
Neither Baron nor Mellon testified in the case. Baron died in October 2008 of bone cancer. Mellon, who lives on a Virginia estate, is 101 years old and hard of hearing.
After doling out exhibits piecemeal as the jury requested them, Federal Judge Catherine Eagles Thursday gave the jury all the evidence in the case, a move that could help speed deliberations.
The jury has spent more than 25 hours deliberating since it was charged last Friday. They have taken breaks only for lunch.
Edwards was spotted earlier this week, pacing around a second-floor room of the courthouse, occasionally peering at the press gathered outside.
On Wednesday, he and daughter Cate attended a college baseball game in Greensboro, featuring the UNC Tarheels, his alma mater.
If convicted Edwards can face up to 30 years in prison and be fined more than $1 million, although it is unlikely he will face the most severe penalties.
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