Share this article

print logo

Edwards' jury begins weighing evidence

A jury deliberated for about five hours Friday in John Edwards' campaign corruption trial involving money from wealthy donors that was used to hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 White House bid. Talks will resume Monday, but the jury has already made several requests for evidence and office supplies, a sign they may be settling in for detailed discussions.

Jurors heard about 17 days of testimony, a lot of it focusing on the details of the lurid sex scandal between the Democratic candidate, his mistress Rielle Hunter and his once-trusted aide Andrew Young, who initially claimed he was the father of his boss' baby. But they also reviewed phone and financial records from a period of about two years.

Edwards is charged with six criminal counts including conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act, accepting contributions that exceeded campaign finance limits, and causing his campaign to file a false financial disclosure report. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.

Jurors asked for eight exhibits and all of the notes from a wealthy heiress who provided about half of the money at issue. They also wanted a transcript of the heiress' lawyer's testimony, but the judge told them to rely on their memory. They said they need markers and a board to write on, too.

Jurors will have to weigh whether to believe Edwards, who argued that he didn't knowingly break the law, or his aide, Andrew Young, who said Edwards recruited him to solicit secret donations in excess of the legal limit for campaign contributions, then $2,300.

The choice before them comes down to choosing which liar to believe.

Young, the prosecution's star witness, falsely claimed paternity of his boss' baby in December 2007, after tabloid reporters tracked a visibly pregnant Hunter to a doctor's appointment.

Edwards repeatedly denied having a relationship with Hunter, only to go on national television in August 2008 to admit having a brief affair with Hunter but that it was physically impossible he was the father of her baby girl. In fact, his relationship with Hunter had lasted more than a year.