Edwards jury shows no signs of nearing verdict

The Washington Post on May 29, 2012 released the following:

“By Manuel Roig-Franzia,

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Those color-coordinated alternate jurors in the John Edwards corruption case are at it again.

The four alternates — three women and one man — each wore gray or black tops Tuesday. Last week, they were even more in sync, each wearing red tops Friday and yellow Thursday.

The curious behavior of the alternates lends a bit of a sideshow atmosphere to deliberations now deep into their seventh day and showing every sign of continuing. One of the alternates, a 20-something woman, has frequently smiled at Edwards, sometimes flipping her hair or eyeing him in a manner that some have interpreted as flirtatious. But on Tuesday, the woman — dubbed “the Lady in Red” over the weekend by some commentators — was much more reserved.

There have been hints of tensions in the jury room, and Tuesday, Judge Catherine Eagles lamented to jurors and alternates in open court that many things can happen during long deliberations and “some aren’t good.” Eagles warned the jurors about making sure that their deliberations cannot be overheard in the courtroom.

During the week of deliberations, at least one juror has gestured across the room at alternates in the courtroom during breaks. The jury and the alternates have had an unusual level of interaction during the deliberations. Some judges don’t allow alternates to mingle with jurors, but Eagles has grouped them together in the same room for lunch.

“That’s very unusual,” said Kieran Shanahan, a defense attorney. Federal prosecutors agreed.

Eagles seemed to be urging both jurors and alternates to relax Tuesday, saying, “Give yourself a mental break over lunch.”

The case is in its sixth week. Edwards is accused of six counts of campaign finance violations and conspiracy for allegedly failing to report to the Federal Election Commission almost $1 million in payments from wealthy donors during and after his 2008 presidential campaign that was used to cover up his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter and the child she bore him.

The jury has been given hundreds of exhibits for a second look, and the judge seemed to be digging in Thursday for much more deliberating. Before they went off to lunch, Eagles told jurors and alternates that she would consider scheduling conflicts raised by jurors not only this week but also next week.

“It appears,” she said, “to be high school graduation season.””


Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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