John Edwards Trial: Obfuscation of the Issues

The Government continues to put on witnesses describing the tawdry affair of John Edwards and Rielle Hunter. Yesterday witnesses focused on the effect of the affair on Elizabeth Edwards. While an aide also testified to Edwards' first meeting with Bunny Mellon in 2005, Edwards isn't charged with receiving illegal contributions until 2007.

What was the purpose of detailing Elizabeth Edwards' humiliating moments in a parking lot, at an airport, and in a car en route to the airport? Is the Government accomplishing anything by this intense focus on the affair and strife in the Edwards' marriage other than decimating the character of John Edwards? If so, what? [More...]

John Edwards' defense has always maintained that even if he knew the funds from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron went to support and hide Rielle Hunter and the Youngs, that the funds weren't campaign contributions under the law and since he believed they were not camaign contributions, he didn't willfully, in violation of a known legal duty, violate the law in accepting or failing to report them.

It doesn't seem to me that the details of Edwards affair with Rielle Hunter and his marriage problems resolve the critical issues.

The Government is trying to prove Mellon and Baron 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.

The Government wants to show that Edwards' intent in supporting and hiding Rielle and the Youngs was not to protect his marriage and spare Elizabeth pain, but to prevent the media from finding out, which would torpedo his campaign.

But Edwards lied to Elizabeth when she found out about the affair. He told her it was over when it wasn't. He wanted to prevent her from knowing the affair was more than a one night stand, and especially, that he was the father of the Rielle's baby.

Neither side seems to disagree that Edwards was trying to prevent the media from finding out. The Government argues Edwards' motivation was that if the media found out, it would end his campaign. The defense maintains if the media found out, it would crush Elizabeth and his marriage to know the extent of the of the affair.

These don't seem mutually exclusive. How would Elizabeth find out the extent of the affair, that it was more than a one-night stand and he fathered Rielle's child, if not from the media? What if the jury determines Edwards had both goals -- to preserve his campaign and spare his wife more anguish?

The minute re-telling of the affair doesn't prove the most critical element in the case: Were the donations campaign contributions within the meaning of the Federal Election Campaign Act?

Team Edwards argues:

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 expenses involved were not to satisfy debts that Mr. Edwards was legally obligated to pay irrespective of the campaign; Mr. Baron and Ms. Mellon would have given the money regardless of the campaign; and Mr. Baron and Ms. Mellon made the payments knowing that the monies would not be used for campaign purposes.

Breaking that down, Edwards position is:

  • The Government can't show the donors would not have given the money if he wasn't running for President
  • The donations were not "unambiguously" related to the campaign. To show they were "unambiguously related to the campaign" the Government must show they are susceptible of no reasonable interpretation other than to elect a candidate in a federal election.
  • Funds provided after he suspended his campaign in January, 2008 could not have been for the purpose of influencing the election
  • The funds were not “personal use” expenses unless the donor would not have paid those expenses irrespective of the campaign. The Government can't show Mellon and Baron would not have made the donations had he not been running for office.
  • The funds were not personal use expenses of John Edwards because they went to Rielle and the Youngs, whom he had no legal obligation to support. The personal expenses of Rielle and the Youngs are not his personal expenses since he wasn't legally obligated to repay the expenses.
    A “personal use” expense is an expense of a candidate that would exist irrespective of the election. Such an expense must be personal to the candidate or must be an expense that the candidate is legally obligated to pay without regard to the election. In other words, it has to be an expense that the candidate would have to pay if he was not running for office....If the expense is one that Mr. Edwards would not have been obligated to pay or would not have paid if he had not been running for President, then it is not a personal use expense.

Next, even if the monies were campaign contributions, Edwards maintains he cannot be convicted unless he acted willfully in receiving the monies and willfully failed to report them.

Edwards was told by those administering the funds they were not campaign contributions. Both Andrew Young and Cheri Young testified he assured them the monies were not campaign contributions. To act willfully means to act in violation of a known legal duty. Since Edwards didn't know he had a legal duty, he couldn't have acted in violation of that duty by accepting or failing to report the funds.

The Government is directing the presentation of evidence at trial. It has spent two weeks trashing the character of John Edwards. The judge has instructed the jury this is not about him being a cad, it's about whether he broke the law.

At some point, the jury is bound to get fed up with the character assassination, and want the proof John Edwards committed a crime. It will want more than innuendo and details from which it can draw inferences. The jury needs to be provided proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The longer the Government avoids presenting such proof, the more it appears it doesn't have it.

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    This has the feel of a TV trial scripted (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by caseyOR on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:36:24 PM EST
    by legendary General Hospital executive producer Gloria Monty, not the feel of a serious exercise in American jurisprudence.

    I felt so sorry for Cate Edwards yesterday. When the woman, can't remember her name, who was Elizabeth's campaign aide and friend, took the stand and began her testimony about the agony Elizabeth suffered because of John's lyin' cheatin' ways, Cate left the courtroom in tears.

    I understand why Cate, a lawyer herself, is in that courtroom sitting behind John everyday. He is her father, her only surviving parent. And she undoubtedly knew, given the tenor of the prosecution pre-trail, that testimony would be wrenching to hear. Still, my heart went out to her.

    Too bad both sides didn't just stipulate that John is the picture in the dictionary next to the word cad, and then move on to a discussion of campaign finance law. I am not a lawyer, and I was not present when the prosecution discussed its strategy, but it sure looks like the prosecutors are hoping that the jury will see John for the sleazy cheater he is, and convict on emotion rather than fact.

    "Edwards was told by those administering (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by KeysDan on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:40:28 PM EST
    the fund they were not campaign contributions."   It seems, to me, that this statement, attested to by the fund administrators, is the nut of Edward's defense to the election finance charges.  Moreover, the very tawdriness of the extra-marital affair would seem to support the argument for going to great lengths so as to keep it from his wife and family.  Even, at this point, it was seen to be difficult for his daughter to be present for the details at Court.

    I (none / 0) (#16)
    by lentinel on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:47:50 PM EST
    don't get it.

    If it is clearly established that Edwards was told by those administering the fund that they were not campaign contributions, what is left of the prosecution's case?


    It's also not something (none / 0) (#26)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:06:00 PM EST
    that's ever been asserted by the government before.  Nevertheless, the prosecutor's case appears to be that Edwards should have intuited it anyway.


    I just hope Edwards has enough friends left to keep an eye on him that he doesn't quietly go off somewhere and do himself in when this is all over.


    I never (none / 0) (#43)
    by lentinel on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:47:58 PM EST
    liked Edwards.
    Maybe he did know better. Maybe he knew they were wrong and saw this as his way to take the money and run.

    But - nevertheless - they were the administrators. If they told Edwards that they were not campaign contributions, he has a definite alibi imo. He can shrug his shoulders and say, "I dunno, ask them."


    Grotesque prosecutorial (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:54:34 PM EST
    overreach, particularly by highly suspect Bush-era holdover U.S. attorneys, is what I object to here.

    As for Edwards himself, he's been utterly ruined.  My mother used to recall a saying she often heard in her childhood from church-going relatives, "Leave 'er lay where Jesus flung 'er."  He's got the rest of his life to contemplate what he did, and I think there's still enough of a mensch left inside him that he's in some danger from his own despair and guilt.


    really? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by desmoinesdem on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:17:18 PM EST
    I don't have experience with juries, but this comment surprised me: "At some point, the jury is bound to get fed up with the character assassination, and want the proof John Edwards committed a crime."

    I would think the opposite: the more the prosecution tries to shift attention to how despicable John Edwards is, the better off they are. Their case is weak, and they know it. They seem to be daring the jury: do you really want to acquit such a major-league @$$hole? Seems to me it just might work.

    I have to disagree (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by lentinel on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:41:26 PM EST
    with you.

    The jury is there to determine whether or not Edwards committed a crime - not to decide whether or not he is a despicable philandering cad.

    The more the prosecution harps on his personal life, the more the jury members would be prone to wonder why the government is wasting their precious time.


    I don't disagree with you (none / 0) (#24)
    by desmoinesdem on Thu May 03, 2012 at 08:30:31 PM EST
    That's what the jury should be thinking. I guess I don't have as much faith in the system.

    I was (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by lentinel on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:40:50 PM EST
    a prospective juror only once.
    It was a real pain, sitting around. Very boring.
    Waiting to see if I would be chosen.

    I wasn't.
    But it was a real drag and a waste of two days of my time.

    If I had been, after all that, chosen for a jury, had to not go to work, and then sat there while the government hemmed and hawed about irrelevant matters of the personal life of the defendant, I would be bursting with a desire to acquit just so I could get out of there and go home.

    It's not about faith in the jury system for me.
    I'm just identifying with how I would feel if I would in the jury box while this was going on.


    Agreed. (none / 0) (#44)
    by KeysDan on Fri May 04, 2012 at 05:05:20 PM EST
    I think that most juries can sift through and determine the relevant parts of the case and relate them to the charges.  This faith in the jury system is grounded in basic fairness as well as an intolerance for the irrelevant.  In  a case involving an extra-marital affair there may also be some level of understanding.   With the prevalence of divorce, which frequently has a cause greater than not putting the toilet seat down, the prosecution will have to do more than prove that Edwards is a cad.  Although the trial is in North Carolina, it surely is not unheard of for even a man of the cloth to have carried on with a choir director who was not his wife.  

    pretty much so. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by cpinva on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:53:36 PM EST
    Ergo, I'd contend that the government has no business misconstruing Ms. Mellon's stated intent in order to make a case, unless it wants to also indict that 102-year-old doyenne and several others for conspiracy to circumvent campaign finance law.

    they're going to have to assert that the gift tax returns were actually an affirmative conspiritorial act, and fraudulent on their face. the actual intent was as a campaign contribution. how the gov't intends to prove that is something of a mystery, absent a dramatic, tv show-like confession in open court. i don't see this happening. i could be wrong.

    a big problem here is that the IRS, absent tangible proof to the contrary, is more or less estopped from making that same claim, and these prosecutors have no authority to speak on behalf of the service. those gift tax returns, by themselves, kill the gov't's case.

    by making it illegal to give gifts to anyone running for public office, until after the election:

    In what way, just curiously would you change the law to prohibit people from giving money directly to people they want to give money to for non-campaign purposes?

    could make things awkward at christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, etc., but such are the sacrifices one must be willing to make.

    again, why did the judge allow this to go forward, and why hasn't he halted it in its tracks? has he actually been awake while this has been going on?

    This is one jury they would have (2.00 / 1) (#1)
    by me only on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:26:07 PM EST
    to kick me off.  'Cause I would vote to convict Edwards of anything, including kidnapping the Lindbergh baby.

    Not me (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by ZtoA on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:41:01 PM EST
    I would be right there with J's last paragraph. And wondering about the motive(s) behind the character attacks. He's already ruined, and the "webisodes" are humiliating - which he did to himself.

    Me Too (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by ScottW714 on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:26:42 PM EST
    I would convict Edwards of being a classless clown, and he was my guy, so I think the rage is even more so.

    Then I would go after the prosecutor for giving Young's a pass on stealing over a half million bucks to testify against Edwards.  Hunter would get a trophy declaring her Prima Donna of the year.  And the only ones I would put in jail are the Young's for grand larceny.

    But as far as the actual charges, I don't see it.


    maybe all the focus on his behavior (2.00 / 2) (#21)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:05:15 PM EST
    is to show that he was beyond caring about anything but himself and his own personal ambitions.  They are showing that Elizabeth knew about the affair and that she was not so stupid as to believe that it was a one night stand.  So pretending the money was meant to protect her from the truth was just laughable.  I think she knew the truth and continued to campaign for him.
    In addition, I do not believe for a minute that Edwards didn't know he was doing something wrong.  I think the money was for his campaign.  It was to keep the public from knowing the truth, to keep his campaign going and there for campaign money.
    I hope he gets the worst penalty possible thrown at him. Money in our elections, from rich rich rich people and corporations are what is wrong with our electoral system.  Just my opinion.

    So... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by bmaz on Thu May 03, 2012 at 10:46:44 PM EST
    ...you are saying the entire focus is to show he is a cad and hope to convict him even if criminality cannot be shown? Actually, that is very clearly what you are saying.



    No that's not what she's saying (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sj on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:14:04 AM EST
    She's saying that the money, which was mostly used to build Young's dream house, which was gifted by Bunny Mellon, who paid a gift tax, was still somehow a campaign donation.  

    She wants him to be found to be a criminal.  In spite of the lack of evidence.

    There is, however, considerable evidence that he is a cad.  Which appears to be blinding her.


    Exactly (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by ScottW714 on Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:31:32 AM EST
    I can not get past the Young's stealing most of the money in question and getting a pass on what surely would be serious jail time, to testify against Edwards.

    It's one thing to break campaign finance laws, and not saying he did, but how that is considered a higher crime then stealing is beyond me.

    Edwards has shown to have little character, but that isn't a crime, if it were, the whole lot would be locked up including his wife.

    Teresa clearly has bias, I wonder if she was pimping "I hope he gets the worst penalty possible thrown at him" when Delay or the Abramoff crew was on the chopping block.


    what gets me is this (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:04:22 AM EST
    It's legal for Sheldon Adelson to spend $20 MILLION supporting Newt Gingrich's campaign through a super-PAC. Millions of dollars on television commercials directly advocating for Newt or against other candidates, no problem.

    Yet campaign finance laws are applied as never before to portray Bunny Mellon's gifts for personal expenses, on which she paid gift tax, most of which didn't go to Edwards, as illegal campaign contributions.

    This prosecution is totally for show.


    Colbert (none / 0) (#36)
    by ScottW714 on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:32:50 AM EST
    And his Super PAC have really exposed how anonymously one can donate large sums without so much as a name to some very unsavory practices.

    He collected more money then Gingrich for 3 months I believe, and got a huge donation, but doesn't know who gave it to him.


    Not how I read it at all. (none / 0) (#37)
    by Dr Molly on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:14:35 PM EST
    But maybe I'm wrong.

    I read it as a comment saying that Edwards' explanations of covering up in order to protect his wife and family were clearly bogus; instead he did it for all the obvious mundane reasons -- i.e., to cover up the heinous thing he did, using campaign donations as his personal fling money.

    I also read it as a comment that takes campaign finance reform very seriously.

    Being a dirty dog who hurt his wife and family and being a corrupt politician who used donations for personal pleasure aren't mutually exclusive.


    Okay, I guess I see what you're (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by sj on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:31:29 PM EST
    saying.  But it was clearly not a campaign donation.  It was legally a gift.  Signed, sealed and taxes paid.  I honestly can't see why the prosecution is saying otherwise.

    I, too, take campaign finance reform to be a serious issue.  But you can't put someone on trial for what the law should be.  Only for what the laws are now.  Or I guess, at the time of the act.


    That's not at all what she said. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Dr Molly on Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:25:13 AM EST
    knowing you're doing something wrong (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by desmoinesdem on Fri May 04, 2012 at 01:39:44 PM EST
    is different from knowing you're breaking the law. I would venture to guess that any man who knocked up his mistress while his wife suffered from terminal cancer would know on some level that behavior is "wrong." The prosecution has a burden to prove that Edwards knew he was violating campaign finance laws, when it appears he was told he wasn't violating those laws.

    Edwards (none / 0) (#3)
    by barbarajmay on Thu May 03, 2012 at 02:46:52 PM EST
    I  think those of you locked into Edwards' character aren't paying attention to what is going on.  He is charged with a violation of campaign contribution laws.  The issue is not whether he is a scoundrel.  I'm not sure a lot of us would pass that test.  I would like to get past beating the daylights out of Edwards and get on with proving up the case.  I don't think anything could wreck Edward's life more than he already has.

    Hey! I can assure you that ... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:18:09 PM EST
    barbarajmay: "The issue is not whether he is a scoundrel. I'm not sure a lot of us would pass that test."

    ... I am NOT a scoundrel! I don't care what everyone else here says. I am merely occasionally guilty of a few small ethical compromises, that's all.


    Actually, in all seriousness, I fully agree with you and Jeralyn. I've long-since made my opinion of John Edwards known here, and have also made clear that such personal opinions are legally irrelevant in this particular matter.

    As you noted, the key issue before the court is whether Edwards violated campaign finance law by spending Bunny Mellon's money in the manner he did. The notion that he's a self-absorbed basterd on a personal level is, at best, tangential to the government's overall case.

    Honestly, I'm rather surprised that the judge hasn't already ordered the prosecution to cease browbeating the jury and regaling the masses with these tawdry (if shopworn) tales of Edwards' less-than-exemplary personal behavior -- particularly when a simple showing of that emotionally wrenching scene from the 1976 film Network between Max (William Holden) and Louise (Beatrice Straight) would've sufficed to serve their purpose -- and move on to the crux of their case as a matter of due course.



    Either the trial judge finds this evidence (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:07:07 PM EST
    or attention is not on the testimony.

    evidence relevant (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu May 03, 2012 at 03:07:59 PM EST
    no tangible evidence presented in two weeks, (none / 0) (#9)
    by cpinva on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:46:58 PM EST
    of the actual crime mr. edwards is accused of commiting. there is no tangible evidence, the gov't is relying on the jury being disgusted by mr. edwards acts that have nothing to do with the actual issue at hand. the real question here is: why did the judge allow this case to proceed?

    Then I'd ask the following: (none / 0) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 03, 2012 at 04:49:14 PM EST
    If not as a campaign contribution, how then should the funds from Bunny Mellon be considered legally, if only for federal tax purposes -- as a personal gift from Ms. Mellon to John Edwards?

    Because that seems -- to me, anyway -- to be how Edwards viewed the money. If that's truly the case, then the Justice Dept. has no business intimating any violation of federal campaign laws.

    The IRS, however, might want to speak with Edwards, Andrew Young and Rielle Hunter regarding the ultimate disposition of those funds.


    As I understand it (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by sj on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:19:44 PM EST
    (although I don't understand it) It is the responsibility of the giver to pay the appropriate gift tax.  Which, apparently Ms. Mellon did.

    Thank you for the clarification ... (none / 0) (#20)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:05:03 PM EST
    ... regarding the responsibility for the taxes on these funds. I stand corrected, and further note that your correction underscores my original contention that Bunny Mellon's money WAS a gift.

    didn't Bunny Mellon pay gift taxes? (none / 0) (#13)
    by desmoinesdem on Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:18:17 PM EST
    I may be confused--I thought she did pay gift taxes on at least some of this money.

    yes she paid gift taxes (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Thu May 03, 2012 at 06:35:50 PM EST
    The Government has on its intended exhibit list:

    Rachel Mellon Gift Tax Return - 2007 Undated and
    Rachel Mellon Gift Tax Return - 2007 Amended 3/10/2009

    Her lawyer, Alexander Forger, after testifying to the grand jury, told the media:

    "She made a personal gift to the senator," Forger said. "She filed a gift tax return. She intended it for his personal use and had no understanding of what his need was and where the money would go

    Thank you, Jeralyn. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:06:42 PM EST
    I thought so. That underscores my contention.

    I agree with you that ... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Thu May 03, 2012 at 07:20:10 PM EST
    ... the obscene amounts of money being funnelled into politics is at the heart of what ails our electoral system.

    All the same, though, if Bunny Mellon considered John Edwards a personal friend and meant for that money to be a personal gift to him, no strings attached, then that's her right and decision . After all, it's her money and not the government's.

    Ergo, I'd contend that the government has no business misconstruing Ms. Mellon's stated intent in order to make a case, unless it wants to also indict that 102-year-old doyenne and several others for conspiracy to circumvent campaign finance law.

    We may not like it, but the law's the law. If we don't want this sort of stuff to happen again, then we need to work to change the law.


    In what way, just curiously (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:09:50 PM EST
    would you change the law to prohibit people from giving money directly to people they want to give money to for non-campaign purposes?

    Ruh Roh.. (none / 0) (#32)
    by ScottW714 on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:05:40 AM EST
    Mark Kornblau, national press spokesman for on Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign, said he initially publicly denied reports of Edwards's affair in 2007 because he believed the story to be untrue.

    Things changed in December of that year, when a tabloid newspaper editor said he would stop publishing stories about the affair if Edwards would sign an affidavit swearing under oath that he wasn't the father of Hunter's daughter, Kornblau testified.

    Edwards refused, Kornblau said.

    Edwards refused to break the law over the affair ?

    The disclosure appeared to surprise prosecutor David Harbach, who asked Kornblau, "Is there a reason you didn't tell the government about the affidavit?"

    "Because you never asked," Kornblau responded.

    As a person with ties to the criminal justice system, I can only imagine Jack McCoy giving that infamous steely look of disapproval and shanking his head.

    I'd like to read that (none / 0) (#33)
    by sj on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:50:18 AM EST
    but I can't find the article.  Link?

    Link (none / 0) (#35)
    by ScottW714 on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:13:07 AM EST
    Sorry, MSNBC.

    Naturally ::sigh:: (none / 0) (#38)
    by sj on Fri May 04, 2012 at 12:18:18 PM EST
    I'll check it out when I get home.  

    Similar (none / 0) (#40)
    by ScottW714 on Fri May 04, 2012 at 01:01:52 PM EST
    More nad news for Edwards (none / 0) (#46)
    by jbindc on Sat May 05, 2012 at 06:15:45 AM EST
    testimony that he knew and acknowledged Bunny Mellon's money was for his own personal use.

    It gets worse and worse for him.

    I'm sad.  He spoke at my law school graduation - I shook his hand. Now I just think - ick.

    doesn't change the fact (none / 0) (#47)
    by desmoinesdem on Sat May 05, 2012 at 11:25:47 AM EST
    that he was advised that gifts for his personal use were not campaign contributions.

    I don't think that's quite accurate (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Sat May 05, 2012 at 11:43:54 AM EST
    I believe Forger testified they were for his benefit. That's not the same as the being for his "personal use." Personal Use under the campaign laws is a legally defined term, and while the two sides disagree on what it means, the judge has not yet ruled which side she agrees with. She will be the one who decides what the jury is instructed. If she goes with Edwards' interpretation, Forger's testimony that they were for his "benefit" doesn't make the case.

    Also, the government still has to show the donations were made for the purpose of influencing the election -- that they wouldn't have made the payments had he not been running for office.

    As for the "ick" factor, that's a personal insult to him. Please refrain from insulting him. I met him and spent more than an hour with him at a meeting he set up with a dozen bloggers in Denver, and I certainly don't feel that way at all. I also attended many of his events in Iowa the week of the Iowa caucuses, and watched Elizabeth praise him to the high heavens. The mendacity of that speech is cringe-worthy now, but she's not here to defend herself and she's not on trial.


    So if John Edwards (none / 0) (#49)
    by Zorba on Sat May 05, 2012 at 02:36:36 PM EST
    is found guilty of violating campaign financing laws (and if he is, it is my hope that he appeals and is found "not guilty" on appeal- this never should have been brought to trial in the first place, IMO), will the IRS be giving Mrs. Mellon back the gift taxes she paid on this money?

    My question: does the federal gov't. (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Sat May 05, 2012 at 02:42:35 PM EST
    need to put Bunny Mellon on the stand?  Seems so to me.  

    She's 101 years old, (none / 0) (#51)
    by Zorba on Sat May 05, 2012 at 03:03:42 PM EST
    and her health is fragile, although she remains active.  And from everything I've read, she's still pretty "with it" mentally.  But I wonder how it would look for the government's case to drag a centenarian into court to testify.  Her lawyer, Alex Folger, has testified, though.  

    What he said about her intentions (none / 0) (#52)
    by oculus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:42:58 AM EST
    is hearsay.  Perhaps the parties would stipulate too her appearing by closed-circuit TV.  

    Well, it's not up to (none / 0) (#53)
    by Zorba on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:29:38 AM EST
    you or me.  It's up to the prosecution.  Perhaps you could email them your concerns.   ;-)

    Doubtless attornes for all parties (none / 0) (#54)
    by oculus on Sun May 06, 2012 at 06:58:47 AM EST
    Are monitoring for trial tactics.  

    I'm sure (none / 0) (#55)
    by Zorba on Sun May 06, 2012 at 01:52:49 PM EST
    they are.  Or they have para-legals doing it, at least.  It's easy enough to monitor the law blogs, as well as the regular news sites.  I would think that Google would be getting a work-out.     ;-)

    "ick' (none / 0) (#56)
    by jbindc on Sun May 06, 2012 at 03:42:49 PM EST
    Is my own personal feeling.

    your personal feelings (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jeralyn on Sun May 06, 2012 at 04:01:14 PM EST
    are a personal insult to the defendant, having to do with his character, not the legal issues. You know that insults are not allowed here, whether they are your opinion or not. Please keep them to yourself or post them somewhere else.