Judge Denies John Edwards' Motions to Dismiss Charges
A federal judge in the Middle District of North Carolina has denied several of John Edwards' motions to dismiss the criminal charges against him. The motions were argued yesterday and the Judge asked the parties to return this morning. Asked for a statement after the hearing, Edwards said:
"What's important now is that I now get my day in court, after all these years I finally get my day in court," Edwards said. "What I know with complete and absolute certainty is I did not violate any campaign laws."
Some of the motions, according to the Judge, need to be resolved by the Jury. She did express "uncertainty" about whether venue was appropriate for some of the charges and whether legally, John Edwards could aid and abet himself. Edwards had argued that he can't be both a principal and accessory at the same time. Attorney Abbe Lowell said: [More...]
What she did was she didn't just quite kick the can down the road," Lowell added. "She did put the can down the road, and that can has some dents in it."
The Judge also denied Edwards' motions arguing that his prosecution was politically motivated.
The portion of the yesterday's hearing on his motion to dismiss for irregularities before the grand jury was held in closed session because it involved grand jury testimony.
From his motion on the aiding and abetting issue, asserting that Edwards could not have aided and abetted his own “receipt” of an allegedly illegal contribution:
Counts 2 through 5 of the Indictment allege that Mr. Edwards "knowingly and willfully accepted contributions . . . in excess of the limits of the Election Act" from two sources, Ms. Mellon and Mr. Baron, and then repeat boilerplate language at the end of each Count alleging that Mr. Edwards "did aid and abet said offense." The aiding and abetting language is legally impossible in this context.
As the candidate alleged to have accepted illegal campaign contributions, Mr. Edwards could not have aided and abetted himself in committing the charged offense. As it cannot be clear if the grand jury agreed to a finding of probable cause based on Mr. Edwards being a principal or as an aider and abetter, this count must be dismissed.
On the issue of the U.S. Attorney George Holding's political motivation and the conduct of the AUSA before the grand jury, Team Edwards wrote in one motion (Case 1:11-cr-00161-UA Document 32 Filed 09/06/11 Page 13 of 32):
The conduct of Mr. Holding's office during grand jury proceedings also raises serious questions about the judgment and good faith of his staff. Prosecutors apparently asked witnesses before the grand jury a broad range of questions that had nothing to do with alleged campaign finance violations by Mr. Edwards.
Witnesses report that they were asked whether Mr. Edwards or his law firm had been sued for sexual harassment; whether they were surprised by the size of Mr. Edwards's home; and whether the house had a basketball court.
Details about grand jury proceedings were also repeatedly leaked to the news media by "law enforcement officials" and "those close to the investigation" in a rather transparent attempt to convict Mr. Edwards in the court of public opinion before he ever had a chance to fight the allegations against him in court.
At least 50 federal agents conducted more than 125 interviews of anyone (including interns) who had ever worked for Mr. Edwards during his political career. In many cases, federal agents showed up on the doorsteps of potential witnesses unannounced, even though the witness already had been interviewed and was represented by counsel.
On the venue and misconduct, Edwards argued (Case 1:11-cr-00161-UA Document 32 Filed 09/06/11 Page 14 of 32):
Mr. Holding investigated Mr. Edwards for almost three years, from August 11, 2008 until the Indictment was issued on June 3, 2011. For all but a few days of that period, Mr. Holding led the investigation in his home district, the Eastern District, where a grand jury was convened, hundreds of exhibits were presented and thousands of pages worth of testimony were taken. Yet, Mr. Holding and all the prosecutors he now was leading undoubtedly were aware that none of the targets of his investigation resided in the Eastern District.
So, literally, no more than a day or two before Mr. Edwards was indicted, the prosecutors convened a second grand jury in the Middle District. They then hastily presented the second grand jury with merely 40 or so out of hundreds of exhibits (few of which were germane to the charges), as well as a single summary witness who recounted the testimony allegedly offered to the first grand jury in a massive presentation of hearsay. Mr. Edwards addresses these abuses of the grand jury process in a separate motion to dismiss. (MTD No. 3.)
...The second grand jury indicted Mr. Edwards on June 3, 2011; Mr. Holding left his post as United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina shortly after the Indictment; and, on July 13, 2011, Mr. Holding announced his intent to run for Congress as a Republican in North Carolina's newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
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