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John Edwards : Juror Issues

Predicting what is going on behind the closed doors of jury deliberation is like reading tea leaves. Something is going on behind the scenes with the jurors in the John Edwards trial. What that might be is unclear.

The judge held another closed conference yesterday after a juror submitted a note. She also told the alternates they no longer have to report every day, they are now on "standby."

For once, the media seems to be unwilling to speculate. Why? Absence of facts has never stopped them before, especially if they can create a story that someone will be found guilty. [More...]

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John Edwards: Judge Holds Conference on Potential Juror Issue

Uh-oh. No, I don't think it's the flirting juror. It sounds like some jurors have discussed the case in a small group. The judge held a closed meeting with counsel for 35 minutes today and then sent the jury home with a stern warning:

"All of your deliberations should take place while you are in the jury room and together," Eagles said. "Don't discuss the case in small groups."

Is this related to the coordinated clothing? Four alternates and 2 jurors wore bright red shirts today.

The judge will start court early on Tuesday and make take up the issue again then. If an alternate gets on, the jury has to start deliberating all over. What's transpired so far doesn't count.

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John Edwards Trial: Tim Toben and Andrew Young

Former Edwards campaign supporter and contributor Tim Toben was back on the stand today in the John Edwards trial. Most of the media reports I've seen don't mention the close friendship between Toben and Andrew Young.

From the acknowledgement section (page xii)of Andrew Young's book, The Politician:

To Tim Toben, I love you brother. And I love Megan and your family like my own.

Young described Toben as "the one Chapel Hill friend who still spoke to me." (p. 261.) [More...]

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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...]

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John Edwards Trial: "When Harry Met Sally" Day

The Government's next witness after Cheri Young is expected to be former Edwards aide Josh Brumburger. Brumburger was with Edwards at the Regency when Rielle Hunter came over to introduce herself. Brumberger was wary of Rielle and expressed his concerns to Edwards. Ultimately, Edwards fired Brumberger.

You can read the supposed backstory in this lengthy excerpt from Game Change by Josh Heilemann and Mark Helperin.

From the Government's Exhibit list, it appears the Government will introduce e-mails between Brumberger and Edwards staff members and two e-mails between Brumberger and Rielle Hunter regarding Russell Simmons. Also, Brumberger sent an email to someone on May 10, 2006 about "Bunny said no on plane." [More...]

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Cheri Young Testifies John Edwards Told Her the Contributions Were Legal

Week 2 is underway in the trial of John Edwards. Andrew Young's wife, Cheri Young, continued her testimony this morning.

“I heard Mr. John Edwards tell me on the phone that he checked with the campaign lawyers and that this was legal,” said Cheri Young, who was on the witness stand for a second day of questioning by prosecutors.

More on her testimony here. Her husband, Andrew Young, testified similarly last week when he said Edwards told him he thought the contributions were legal. [More...]

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Misleading Headline of the Day in John Edwards Case

From Fox News: Sex tape at Edwards trial? Defense, prosecution wrangle over its admission. The article falsely states:

Opposing lawyers in the John Edwards trial wrangled Friday over whether to allow into evidence a sex tape of the former presidential candidate and allegations of an extramarital affair involving an ex-aide who is the prosecution's chief witness.

No one is trying to admit the tape. The battle is over testimony about the tape. Team Edwards wanted to question Andrew Young about statements he had made about the tape. [More]

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Andrew Young Admits Funneling Funds For Own Use

Star witness Andrew Young today admitted in cross-examination he co-mingled and used funds received from Bunny Mellon and Fred Baron for his personal benefit -- the construction of his dream home. He even billed Baron for things Mellon had already paid.

Young testified Thursday he had sent Baron an invoice for many of the expenses the aide had already paid for with money from Mellon; he said Baron then wired another $325,000 to the builder constructing the Young's house.

He also got stung on his claim it was Edwards idea for him to claim paternity of Rielle Hunter's baby:

Lowell asked Young to recount his story of how Edwards had asked him to claim paternity of Hunter's child on December 13, 2007. Young had said the phone conversation occurred while he was sitting in his car and had looked over to the passenger seat to see a copy of Newsweek magazine with Edwards on the front.

The defense then flashed a photo of that magazine cover up on the screens visible to the jury. It was dated two weeks later.

[More..]

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John Edwards and Bunny's Honey Money

John Edwards has a multiple defenses planned for the Bunny Money -- the funds provided by Bunny Mellon through her decorator Bryan Huffman to Andrew and Cheri Young. Their arguments also apply to the Fred Baron money. It essentially boils down to: If Bunny's Money Went to My Honey, You Must Acquit.

The Government says the donations from Mellon and Baron were for the purpose of influencing the 2008 election – helping Edwards be elected President of the United States – and that Edwards knew it. [More...]

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Defense Cross-Examines Andrew Young

John Edwards' lead defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, will get his chance to rip apart Andrew Young right after lunch.

The question: Will Young be annihilated on cross-examination or will the jurors be left with the impression that while he's an opportunistic Brutus, he is worthy of belief? [More...]

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Rielle Hunter's Attorneys Join John Edwards Legal Team

John Edwards has added Rielle Hunter's lawyers to his legal team in his criminal case. The two lawyers represented Hunter in her civil case against Andrew Young. James Cooney and his firm moved to withdraw. A hearing was held today to determine if there might be a conflict, since Rielle is a potential government witness against him, and whether it was waivable. Both John and Rielle waived any potential conflict. If Rielle testifies, she will be cross-examined by lead counsel Abbe Lowell or someone from his office, rather than her former lawyers.

The Government disclosed in pleadings today that Rielle Hunter received immunity in the criminal case. [More...]

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Fox News Gets John Edwards Filing Wrong

Update 8:00 pm: Good for Mediaite -- It has updated with WRAL's correction. I've removed them from the headline of my post. Fox has yet to correct its headline. And now the Washington Post runs with the inaccurate story and speculates there must be something on the tape that helps his defense. How about reading the pleadings that set out his defense instead of writing things like "His defense strategy seems to be... " This is journalism?

Original Post: Fox News has an article today with the headline"John Edwards asks judge not to destroy sex tape." The article begins with:

John Edwards has asked a judge not to destroy a sex tape he made with his former mistress Rielle Hunter that was slated for destruction under a settlement reached last week, WRAL-TV reported.

Fox did no checking.[More...]

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John Edwards Trial Postponed, Heart Surgery Next Month

John Edwards has a life-threatening heart condition for which he will undergo surgery next month. His trial has been postponed until at least March 26.

The judge received information from two cardiologists who said "that a trial would "reduce the chance for success." In granting Edwards' request for a continuance, the judge stated there were "real and serious health issues."

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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...]

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John Edwards Seeks Dismissal of Indictment, Alleges Prosecutorial Vindictiveness

Among the bevy of motions to dismiss filed by lawyers for John Edwards yesterday, the most interesting to the public should be the motion to dismiss for abuse of prosecutiorial discretion and prosecutorial vindictiveness.

Edwards says former U.S. Attorney George Holding, now running for Congress, investigated him searching for a crime, rather than investigating a crime and searching for the culprit. He says Holding was driven by prior animosity and conflict with Edwards and Holding's own political ambitions.

The brief supporting the motion is 32 pages, I've posted the Statement of Facts here and some of the allegations below.

The crux of the argument by Team Edwards (which now consists of Abbe Lowell, James P Clooney, III and Wade Smith -- Gregory Craig and Skadden Arps are no longer on the case) is : [More...]

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