John Edwards Trial Begins

The jury is expected to hear opening arguments today in the federal trial of John Edwards taking place in North Carolina. Here's a primer on what to watch for. An overview is here. The key questions are here.

While in many ways it will be the trial of Andrew Young vs. John Edwards, and whether Team Edwards can effectively impeach Mr. Young’s credibility, it's also going to be a very technical trial about the interpretation of campaign finance laws.

The Indictment is here. There are six charges. [More...]

  • Count 1: Conspiring with Andrew Young, Fred Baron, Rachel Mellon and others, to accept excessive campaign contributions from both Mr. Baron and Ms. Mellon and conspiring to file false and misleading campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission.
  • Count 2: Receiving more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from Rachel Mellon in 2007, which exceeded the $2,300. limit set by the Election Act.
  • Count 3: Receiving more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from Rachel Mellon in 2008, which exceeded the $2,300. limit set by the Election Act.
  • Count 4: Receiving more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from Fred Baron in 2007, which exceeded the $2,300. limit set by the Election Act.
  • Count 5: Receiving more than $25,000 in campaign contributions from Fred Baron in 2008, which exceeded the $2,300. limit set by the Election Act.
  • Count 6: Making a False Statement : Concealing Mellon and Baron’s alleged contributions from his campaign committee, and in doing so, causing the treasurer of the campaign committee to file inaccurate and incomplete reports with the Federal Election

The Government's theory, according to its Trial Brief, Available on PACER:

A federal candidate may only accept and receive a limited amount of money from any one individual during an election cycle, and he must truthfully report the money he accepts and receives. At trial, the Government will prove that John Edwards knowingly and willfully violated these laws and that he specifically did so because public revelation of his extramarital affair and the resultant pregnancy would destroy his presidential campaign.

At trial, the Government will prove that Mellon’s and Baron’s payments constitute contributions in excess of the legal limit and that Edwards’ knowing and willful acceptance and receipt of them was a crime. The evidence will show that Mellon and Baron each provided funds to Edwards for the purpose of influencing the 2008 election – i.e., helping Edwards be elected President of the United States – and that Edwards knew it.

Edwards Defenses, as presented in his pleadings and Trial Brief:

Overall, Mr. Edwards will contend at trial that the monies paid by Fred Baron and Rachel Mellon to Andrew Young were not contributions within the meaning of the Federal Election Campaign Act ("FECA").

Specifically, Mr. Edwards will argue the monies were not direct contributions to the John Edwards for President Campaign, the monies were not coordinated expenditures made for a campaign-related purpose, and the monies do not fall within the personal use expense regulation. The evidence will demonstrate the expenses involved were not to satisfy debts that Mr. Edwards was legally obligated to pay irrespective of the campaign; that Mr. Baron and Ms. Mellon would have given the money regardless of the campaign; and that Mr. Baron and Ms. Mellon made the payments knowing that the monies would not be used for campaign purposes.

The evidence will reveal that the government's case requires the jury to accept a novel interpretation of the FECA, one that has never been the basis of criminal or even civil liability in the statute's history. The government itself has admitted as much in open court: "[the case] deals with the application of the federal campaign finance laws and how they are to be applied going forward.

Furthermore, Mr. Edwards contends that no matter what set of facts the government seeks to prove, he could not have viewed his actions as unlawful under FECA and thus he did not have the required specific intent to knowingly violate the law.

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    I Never Got The Charge (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:16:59 AM EST
    If the donor and Edwards both say the money was for another purpose, and the money was actually used for another purpose...

    Edwards was my man, and just because I think the charges are a stretch at best, seems like what he did was unforgivable.  I could care less about the affair and the baby, but had he got the nod, we might be sitting here going through this with a standing President.  Or almost as bad, we might be trying win the White House from McCain & Palin.

    I will always hate him for not having the tact to bow out when he found out he had a scandal in the closet. And in the end, he did what they all do, forgot the character that did him so well in life, for a chance at that pie in the sky.

    I don't care who politicians have relationships (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:06:06 PM EST
    with, but too many men are unwilling to acknowledge the impact of their actions on the Democratic Party.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:28:13 PM EST
    I'm over the top with this, but I think that Clinton's dalliance had one hell of an impact on the entire nation.

    What I'm getting at is that Gore felt he had to distance himself from Clinton because the nation was so disgusted by Clinton's behavior and dissembling. Gore chose a true dead fish as his running mate simply because that person had criticized Clinton on the Senate floor.

    Adding the universal revulsion toward Clinton and the never-ending and graphic disclosures to the presence of a sadsack right-winger warmonger on the ticket, and Gore had a mountain to climb rather that coasting to victory on a booming economy and an opponent universally regarded as a spoiled brat ignoramus.

    And what followed that Bush victory was the destruction of our economy and 10+ years of war and torture.


    All you say is true (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by sj on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:38:32 PM EST
    Except that the "universal revulsion" you are referring to is CW and completely unsupported based on Clinton's approval numbers.  Unless you limit "universal" to bobble heads, Republicans, fundamentalist "Christians", etc.  Then you might be right.  



    From the link: (none / 0) (#19)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:01:52 PM EST
    ".....73 percent approval (of Clinton) in the aftermath of the impeachment proceedings in 1998 and 1999."   Which was, in my view, why Speaker Pelosi and the Congressional Democrats 'took impeachment off the table" in 2006, feeling that most American people would not be able to discern between the misadventures of Bush and Clinton, and, worse, that maybe they couldn't.

    That wasn't my view (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by sj on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:06:33 PM EST
    My view was that it was a self-protective mechanism regarding Congress' behavior in enabling (at best) the Bush excesses.  

    I don't know if this is true or not:

    most American people would not be able to discern between the misadventures of Bush and Clinton
    I only know that most of my acquaintances could for sure see the differences.  I recognize that is anecdotal.  Also that I, by and large, have smart friends.  

    Regrets in that I (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:22:58 PM EST
    did not make my thought clear enough.  I do believe that most American people would be able to discern between the misadventures of Clinton and Bush.  However, I am not confident that Speaker Pelosi and the Congressional Democrats had that faith for most Americans, and feared a Bush impeachment might, similarly,  bolster his (and the Republicans) ratings and jeopardize Democratic chances in 2008.  Your point about Democrats concerns' for complicity and enablement are well-taken, and, also, are likely to have factored into their electoral calculus

    You nailed it, i.e., (none / 0) (#21)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:04:01 PM EST
    The "real Americans" vs. the rest of us.

    I'm (none / 0) (#28)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 05:37:34 PM EST
    not convinced that the "approval" numbers and the disgust numbers are mutually exclusive.

    I remember that I felt that the Republicans were on a witch hunt.
    I was against impeachment for Clinton.

    However, I will admit to having been revolted by his behavior nevertheless.

    If I had been asked by a pollster if I approved of Clinton, and the question was framed in such a way that I would have to recognize that I was better off than I had been four years previous, and if the question was framed in such a way that I had to choose between letting Clinton go about the business of the nation and letting the Republicans go about the business of frying him, my answer might have been construed as "approval".

    I can think of no reason that Gore chose that pitiful slug Lieberman as his running mate other than as a means of distancing himself from Clinton's behavior. He must have felt that the "approval" of Clinton was pretty shallow and tenuous.

    I cannot help but feel that had Clinton finished his second term without having stunk up the joint, Gore would have rode into a victory and Bush would have had a career as a baseball magnate or a cowpoke.


    I can't say that I was "revolted." (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:14:17 PM EST
    As long as intimate behavior is mutually consensual, I'm of the opinion that such private matters are strictly the concern of the personally affected parties. In that regard, I heed my grandfather's six words to live by: "It's none of your g0dd@mned business."

    Therefore, I have to admit that I'm much more offended by those who insist that they somehow enjoy the right to root around through other people's private lives, looking for scandal and dirt. We all have personal issues that we would otherwise not appreciate being aired in public, and no family would be able to withstand that sort of close-quarter scrutiny. Frankly, such witch hunts will often disclose far more about the motives of the people conducting them, than they ever will about the subjects under investigation.

    That's why I consider Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt to be the true unsung hero of that whole sordid Monica Lewinsky saga. He turned the same spotlight upon the Republicans, made them squeal like Ned Beatty's character in Deliverance, knocked out Speaker Newt Gingrich and Speaker-elect Bob Livingston, and hoisted them up by their own petards for the flaming hypocrites that they are.


    There (none / 0) (#38)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:55:22 PM EST
    is the argument about whether consensual sex is anybody's business. Then there is the argument about whether a man in a position of power has abused that power by manipulating a woman who is an intern into consensual sex.

    All of that is true.

    But I would have been glad if what happened had in fact been nobody's business.
    I certainly didn't want it to be my business - to have to hear about stains on dresses. Endless ick.

    But - Billy said that he KNEW that Monica would have to talk about it to someone. He also said he did it because he could.

    He did what he did knowing that it would become public.
    He fked us over. Excuse my French.

    Knowing the nature of the opposition, he willingly gave them carte-blanche to derail his presidency - and with it the hopes and dreams of people dependent upon him.

    I didn't want his dalliances to be my business.
    He made it my business.

    To hell with him.

    I'm sorry. But that's the way I feel.

    Now we're stuck with the legacy of Bush and his sequel Obama.


    That's a lot of leaps (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:25:42 PM EST
    To assume that somehow your "revulsion" was "universal", that those that may have shared your revulsion held Gore vicariously responsible, that Clinton was responsible for Gore's decision to "distance himself" from Clinton, and that Gore chose Lieberman (and subsequently lost because of this choice) because of the impeachment.

    Also (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:28:44 PM EST
    Then there is the argument about whether a man in a position of power has abused that power by manipulating a woman who is an intern into consensual sex.

    What evidence is there Clinton "abused his power" or "manipulated a woman who is an intern into sex"?

    Lewinsky herself was clear that she pursued Clinton.


    Excuse me, but Ken Starr and the GOP ... (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:34:24 PM EST
    ... made it the nation's business, not Bill Clinton.

    At the time Starr turned his warped sense of attention to that particular sexual dalliance, it had been over for at least 18 months. Absent the Whitewater witch hunt, we'd have never known about Monica Lewinsky and a certain stained blue dress, and none of us would be any wiser.

    I was working up on Capitol Hill at the time this scandal broke, and like so many of my fellow staffers, I had to read the Starr Report. It told me more about Ken Starr and the apparent stick he had up his a$$ when it came to sex, than it was revelatory about Clinton and Lewinsky.

    The Starr Report was pornography, gratuitous and graphic detail that was thinly disguised as a lawyer's brief. The damnedest thing about it is that when all was said and done, it really didn't tell us anything about Clinton that most of us didn't already either know or suspect. I mean, okay, he was a horndog who seemed to like big women with big hair. So what?

    If you want to despise Clinton because of that randy nature, that's your business. But don't misdirect the reason you know about L'Affaire Lewinsky entirely to him. Rather, that blame rests entirely with Starr, the GOP and their twisted (and politicized) views about human sexuality.



    Quite (none / 0) (#52)
    by lentinel on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 03:00:39 PM EST
    simply, he knowingly did something that the Repubs would inevitably find out about and exploit. That makes him quite culpable in my opinion.

    I repeat. Clinton said he KNEW that Lewinsky would have to talk about it. And he did it anyway.

    Sure, the repubs made stuff public, but Clinton gave them the material. Knowingly. I repeat: Knowingly.


    Well, (none / 0) (#31)
    by sj on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:54:48 PM EST
    I agree with this for sure.
    I can think of no reason that Gore chose that pitiful slug Lieberman as his running mate other than as a means of distancing himself from Clinton's behavior.
    But that was because Dem leadership was telling him everything that you are saying here.  Again, I don't think that accurately reflected a lot of the actual voting public.

    My feelings about it were that if I were BC's spouse I would have a dog in that hunt.  Otherwise it's none of my business.  As I've mentioned before, I have a very large extended family.  There is a lot of forgiving and forgetting that has to happen if you want to stay connected to it.  And because of that I already knew the politicians, like every other human being on the planet, had feet of clay.


    Please stay on topic (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:30:19 PM EST
    of the John Edwards trial. Thank You.

    You're right. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:36:03 PM EST
    My bad. Sorry.

    It seems like a stretch to me too (none / 0) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:01:21 PM EST
    that Edwards would have knowingly violated the $2300 limit law when it is so easy to uncover such a violation. I think it sounds more like a case of the money getting routed the wrong way via mistake rather than willful violation of that law.

    Should be an interesting case.

    Also there is the question of motive - it seems to me that at that point he knew his campaign was going nowhere against Clinton and Obama, and it is more likely was hiding the affair from his wife than trying to salvage his presidential hopes.


    But (none / 0) (#8)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:48:26 PM EST
    if you are running for the nomination for President and a supporter sends you money to cover up/handle  a personal problem, isn't that also a donation? It is also to help your campaign no matter how you slice it/route it.
    I don't believe he or Elizabeth thought he was out of the race at that point.  They seemed to have a real never say die attitude and so the campaign was very much active.

    I would rather we were going after corporate money in elections.  But going after politicians like Edwards who think they are invincible and illegal donations etc.... it's a start.


    Except the money did not go to (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by caseyOR on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:56:14 PM EST
    Edwards. As I understand it, based on comments made by Fred Baron before his death, Baron put the money together without Edwards' knowledge. The money was then given to Andrew Young.

    Also, I remember seeing an interview with Ms. Mellon where she stated the money she gave for this was a gift, a gift for which she paid the federal gift tax.

    This is a political witch hunt, and shame on the Obama DoJ for not shutting it down a long time ago.


    Shut it down? (5.00 / 5) (#12)
    by sj on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:04:25 PM EST
    It seems to me that "someone" is going to great lengths to discredit Edwards (as if he hadn't done enough himself) and make sure that he stays down.  One of my first thoughts was "hmmm... can't have that 'two Americas' message getting traction..."

    My recollection regarding Ms. Mellon is the same. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Angel on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:08:26 PM EST
    Or, it could just be a case of ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:02:16 PM EST
    ... someone in the DOJ who's out to make a name for himself or herself by demonstrating the courage necessary to shoot the wounded. I don't necessarily see this as a political witch hunt, per se, because Edwards' political career is kaput. I'd compare it to that woman who was the U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh, who went to outrageous lengths to put Tommy Chong behind bars; i.e., celebrity prosecution.

    The Other Angle (none / 0) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:59:03 PM EST
    ...why did a wealthy business man need outside hush money ?  Edwards isn't hurting for money.

    Both of these people were adults and they both knew the consequences of their actions, but it seems like one required hush money and the other one is paying the price for giving it to her.


    A wonderment of mine, as well. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by KeysDan on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:05:49 PM EST
    But, then I realized the truth in the saying that rich people never spend their own money--if there is any way to avoid it.

    My thinking was much more straightforward (none / 0) (#25)
    by sj on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:09:11 PM EST
    I just assumed that he was not the keeper of the household purse.

    Because he (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:52:47 PM EST
    didn't want Elizabeth to know about it, and she was not the meek little wifey type who has no knowledge of family finances.

    I made a contribution (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by cal1942 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:39:28 AM EST
    to the Edwards campaign, one of many, a couple of days before he dropped out of the race.  

    When the info about his philandering came out I was angry.  Apparently Edwards slept through the whole Monica Lewinsky thing and although I'm not surprised when something like this happens it bothers me that so many in public life seem to feel they are exempt from the "rules" and immune from discovery.

    As Scott said above I think the charges are ridiculous given what was alleged to have been an arrangement; a waste of DOJ time and money.

    I'd rather see the DOJ use its time and money prosecuting a host of Wall Street players.

    Ah (4.50 / 4) (#3)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:48:17 AM EST
    Edwards didn't sleep through it, though.

    In February of 1999 he said this about Bill Clinton:

    I think this President has shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen.

    Good catch (none / 0) (#4)
    by ks on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:05:41 AM EST
    Fair point.

    Completely forgot about that (none / 0) (#7)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:07:56 PM EST
    Good catch.

    I generally think that a candidate's sex life is irrelevant, unless it demonstrates some kind of hypocrisy on their part.

    ... and I was an Edward's supporter.


    I can kind of forgive Clinton for being (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:06:08 PM EST
    so reckless because up until the republicans went after him, that sort of thing was off limits.  The other party and the media just kind of left your sex life alone.
    However, anyone after Clinton had fair warning.  Edwards had no excuse for putting the party at that kind of risk.  What if he had gotten the  nomination?  What if he were President, Elizabeth died and then we all found out about his mistress and little girl?

    Yeah, I see the argument (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:24:32 PM EST
    I get that it can be used to attack a POTUS and potentially weaken their effectiveness.  At the very least, it would be a distraction.  I just have trouble reconciling it with the fact that - if he's not a "family values" hypocrite - I think it's irrelevant.

    Have you forgotten Gennifer with a "G" (none / 0) (#29)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:42:43 PM EST
    during Clinton's first campaign?

    Please discuss the (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:31:18 PM EST
    Edwards trial, not Clinton.

    Don't get me started about ... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:56:12 PM EST
    ... being an Edwards supporter. We got played for chumps by this blow-dried hypocrite.

    Really? Your support (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:00:12 PM EST
    for Edwards was heavily based on the fact that he was a family man who kept his zipper zipped?

    His personal behavior was beyond atrocious, but for the life of me I don't get what that has to do with his politics and ideology.

    Maybe it's because I spent most of my life involved in Massachusetts (ie, Kennedys), but I don't see the connection.


    Who he schtups is none of my concern. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:32:57 PM EST
    But I distinctly remember the really big deal he made in public about Bill Clinton's so-called moral failings. As they say, pride goeth before the fall.

    That's what makes Edwards a flaming hypocrite, as far as I'm concerned. By his own well-defined standards per the Clinton impeachment scandal, he had no business running for president.

    Then, when Edwards was being called out by the National Enquirer, he vociferously denied the allegations in the media that he was the father of Rielle Hunter's baby, only to be subsequently cornered by the Enquirer in a hotel basement parking lot, while visiting them in Los Angeles. He was thus exposed as a liar and a  fraud, and that's why I say that he was playing as chumps those of us who were his supporters.

    I don't agree with this particular prosecution, given that there's some real question as to what the money was intended to be used for. As far as I'm concerned, the political humiliation Edwards has experienced is punishment enough, and his career is over. Once this trial is over, well, I hope he realizes that his 15 minutes are up, and that he has the personal decency to depart the national stage, at least for the sake of his own young chidren.



    It DOES (none / 0) (#50)
    by jbindc on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 06:55:57 AM EST
    Open someone in power up to blackmail and extortion.  If it affects the way the leader of the free world works, then it ABSOLUTELY is our business.

    The prosecution's already in the weeds. (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:54:03 PM EST
    It turns out that key prosecution witness Andrew Young contacted three other witnesses by telephone over the last three weeks, possibly to inquire about their prospective testimony:

    USA Today | April 23, 2012
    Judge: Witness in Edwards case called other witnesses - "GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - A key prosecution witness in the criminal trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards contacted other witnesses in the case to ask about their planned testimony, a possible violation of federal law, a judge said Monday. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles said that former Edwards aide Andrew Young called the three other witnesses in the last two weeks. Eagles ruled that lawyers for Edwards could mention the improper contact to jurors in opening arguments Monday, but barred them from using the term 'witness tampering' or telling the jury that Young had a one-night stand with one of the other witnesses in 2007."

    Two questions, Jeralyn: What does the federal law spell out, exactly, regarding communications between potential witnesses? How does this complicate the government's case against John Edwards; i.e., what's the potential fallout?

    Being an occasional conspiracy theorist... (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:05:49 PM EST
    Maybe in a change of heart, Young is trying to derail the case?  I mean - he IS a registered lobbyist for the trial lawyers' association, even though he is not a lawyer.

    not a chance (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:38:04 PM EST
    he'd blow his deal for immunity

    Not a chance what, please? (none / 0) (#33)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:01:58 PM EST
    If he did contact those witnesses, does that fall within his immunity or outside of it?  IOW, can he be prosecuted for it?

    I think she means not a chance Young (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:14:23 PM EST
    s trying to blow up the case.  He has to testify fully and completely and cooperate with prosecutor to get his promised immunity from prosecution.  

    He has to tell (none / 0) (#37)
    by Rojas on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 07:36:35 PM EST
    the prosecutor's story or he will go to jail.

    A rather biased viewpoint, IMO. (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:37:44 PM EST
    An accurate summation,IMO (none / 0) (#51)
    by Rojas on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 07:51:04 AM EST
    Yes I was responding (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:33:07 PM EST
    to jbinc who suggested maybe he was trying to derail the case and explaining why that's not the case.

    I agree with you on that score, but (none / 0) (#48)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:57:19 PM EST
    my core question is whether his apparent witness tampering falls under his immunity deal because I haven't heard either way whether it does or doesn't.

    The idea that he was deliberately trying to derail the case is a non-starter for other reasons than that, IMO.


    Please discuss the trial (none / 0) (#45)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:45:43 PM EST
    not your opinions of Edwards having an affair. As the judge instructed the jury today,  As the judge told the jury while they were being selected:

    This is not a case about whether Mr. Edwards was a good husband or politician," the judge said from the bench. "It's about whether he violated campaign finance laws. ... The Constitution says trial by jury, not trial by Internet or trial by gossip."

    Yes, please (5.00 / 0) (#49)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:58:55 PM EST
    There's no dissenting opinion on the planet, as far as I can tell, about his behavior.  Let's just assume that's a given and stop feeling the need to vent about it over and over again.