Edwards jury shows no signs of nearing verdict

May 29, 2012

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.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


John Edwards’ lawyers: $1M used to hide mistress wasn’t campaign contribution; FEC agreed

May 14, 2012

The Washington Post on May 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press,

GREENSBORO, N.C. — After weeks of testimony about John Edwards’ illicit affair and the money used to cover it up, his defense attorneys opened their case Monday by digging into the details of federal campaign finance law.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations. He is accused of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Defense attorneys are attacking the foundation of the prosecution’s argument that the money should be considered an illegal campaign contribution intended to influence the outcome of an election.

But even the federal government was split on that, the defense argues: The Federal Election Commission previously decided that the money was not a campaign contribution. In court Monday, a prosecutor from the Department of Justice called that decision irrelevant to their criminal case and argued against the jury being able to hear about it.

The first witness called by the defense was Lora Haggard, who was in charge of campaign finance compliance for Edwards. In 2008, she was chief financial officer of the John Edwards for President committee.

She testified that the money from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and campaign finance chairman Fred Baron has still never been reported on the campaign’s required disclosure reports, because even after Edwards was charged FEC auditors said it didn’t need to be.

She also said Edwards was never involved in formulating, filling out or filing campaign finance reports that were sent to the FEC. In the sixth count of his indictment, Edwards is accused of causing his campaign to file a false report through deceit.

“We never gave him a report to review,” Haggard said. “He had no input.”

The defense had intended to call former FEC chairman Scott Thomas as their first witness Monday morning, but prosecutors objected to his potential expert testimony on the FEC’s decision about the money. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles scheduled a hearing for later in the day over whether to limit Thomas’ testimony.

The defense opened its case Monday after the judge refused to dismiss the charges on Friday after 14 days of prosecution testimony.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday by playing a tape of a 2008 national television interview in which the Democrat repeatedly lied about his extramarital affair and denied fathering his mistress’ baby. Earlier testimony from a parade of former aides and advisers also showed an unappealing side of Edwards, casting him as a liar and lousy husband.

The defense has not yet indicted whether Edwards or his mistress, Rielle Hunter, will take the stand.

Before winning a U.S. Senate seat in 1998, Edwards made a fortune as a personal injury lawyer renowned for his ability to sway jurors. But his testimony would expose himself to a likely withering cross-examination about his many past lies and personal failings.

Edwards pollster and friend Harrison Hickman took the witness stand shortly before the lunch recess Monday. Ex-Edwards defense lawyer Wade Smith may also be called Monday afternoon.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Judge refuses to dismiss John Edwards charges

May 11, 2012

USA Today on May 11, 2012 released the following:

“RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A federal judge refused to throw out campaign corruption charges against John Edwards on Friday, meaning the former presidential hopeful will have to present his case to a jury.

Lawyers for Edwards argued before U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles that prosecutors failed to prove Edwards intentionally violated the law.

After two-and-a-half hours of arguments from prosecutors and the defense, the judge ruled immediately from the bench that there was enough evidence to let jurors decide.

Motions to dismiss are routine in criminal trials, but rarely granted. The decision means Edwards’ lawyers will begin calling witnesses Monday.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations. He is accused of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

After 14 days of testimony and evidence presented by prosecutors, legal observers in the North Carolina courtroom said the government’s case was weak.

“They have established their case enough to get to a jury, but it has holes in it,” said Kieran J. Shanahan, a Raleigh defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor. “He is not charged with being a liar and he is not charged with having a baby out of wedlock. He is charged with breaking campaign finance laws.”

To prove guilt, prosecutors must show that Edwards not only knew about the money used in the cover-up orchestrated by two members of his campaign, which he denies, but also that the former trial lawyer knew he was violating the law.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday by playing a tape of a 2008 national television interview in which the Democrat repeatedly lied about his extramarital affair with the woman, Rielle Hunter, and denied fathering her baby. Earlier testimony from a parade of former aides and advisors also showed an unappealing side of Edwards, casting him as a liar and lousy husband.

“It is rare the jury gets to see the defendant talking about the main issues of a case in a televised videotape, especially with the defendant watching himself talking about the issues in the videotape,” said Steven Friedland, a former prosecutor and professor as Elon University School of Law. “The defense must somehow counteract that lasting impression.”

A key question is whether Edwards will take the stand in his own defense.

Before winning a U.S. Senate seat in 1998, Edwards made a fortune as a personal injury lawyer renowned for his ability to sway jurors. However, in doing so Edwards would also expose himself to what would likely be a withering cross-examination about his many past lies and personal failings.

The defense could also call Hunter to the stand, which prosecutors declined to do. She could potentially echo Edwards’ position that he didn’t have direct knowledge of the secret effort to care for her and keep her out of the public eye.

However, Friedland said he’d be surprised to see the mistress take the stand.

“She will simply call more attention to the lies surrounding her affair and pregnancy,” he said.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.