John Edwards Trial: Defense Rests
John Edwards concluded his defense today. Neither he, his daughter Cate nor Rielle Hunter testified.
The Government apparently did not call rebuttal witnesses. Jury instructions will be argued this afternoon and closing arguments will be tomorrow. The jury will likely begin deliberating Friday.
I think Edwards absolutely made the right decision. He has no burden to prove anything. Had he testified, the Government would have hammered him with his previous lies, over and over. Was he lying then or is he lying now? If he testified and was convicted, the Government would have been able to seek an increase in his sentencing guidelines for obstruction, claiming he testified falsely. He had little to gain and a lot to lose. [More...]
John Edwards does not have to prove anything. The burden of proof lies entirely with the Government. As hamstrung as the defense was by the Judge's restrictions on its witnesses, it still was able to bring out that Andrew Young had a motive to testify falsely and raise some doubt about whether the funds were campaign contributions and his intent.
The Judge did not let Edwards play the FEC hearing tape. The Government last night filed an objection to its request, stating it didn't mean what the defense said it meant, and provided the transcript. They argued this morning and the Judge refused to allow Edwards to introduce it.
Some stipulations were reached regarding Andrew Young's use of the money, Rielle Hunter's conception date and Andrew Young's possession of the sex tape. The latter stipulation was that Young had the tape in his possession and wanted to sell it but did not.
The most critical factor now is how the Judge instructs the jury.
Update on stipulations: The AP reports:
Jurors were also read a stipulation about a sex tape the Youngs had, purportedly showing Edwards and a pregnant Hunter. Jurors were told Andrew Young considered selling the tape, and during his last personal encounter with Edwards on a rural North Carolina road, he told Edwards he had the tape.There was also a stipulation on when Rielle Hunter conceived.
[Jurors] got a detailed report Wednesday about Hunterís medical history. Her child, Frances Quinn, was most likely conceived between May 25 and 28, 2007, according to a doctorís analysis read to the jury by Lowell. She learned of her pregnancy during a July 3, 2007, doctorís visit, and there is no indication she previously used a home pregnancy test, Lowell said.
Hunter filed an affidavit in the state civil case saying the sex video was made in 2006 and she was not pregnant. Her other affidavit on the tape is here. The tape came up at trial during testimony of Tim Toben. Andrew Young filed this description of the tape in state court. The jury isn't getting all these details. Initially, Abbe Lowell wanted to recall Andrew Young to question him about whether he stole the tape from Rielle rather than, as he claimed, found it in abandoned trash at his house. A stipulation is a substitute for testimony, agreed to by both sides. I'm not sure what the purpose of the pregnancy/sex tape stipulation is. Hopefully someone else can explain it. The AP also reports:
However, in 14 days of testimony, no witness ever said Edwards knew he was violating campaign finance laws, a key element of criminal intent the government must prove to win a conviction.
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