Federal prosecutors drop case against John Edwards

June 13, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“(06-13) 13:20 PDT Greensboro, N.C. (AP) —

Federal prosecutors have filed an order dismissing the remaining criminal charges against John Edwards.

A jury in North Carolina acquitted the former presidential candidate last month on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions. It deadlocked on five other felony counts, resulting in a mistrial on those charges.

A statement issued by the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday said prosecutors will not seek to retry Edwards on the five unresolved counts.

Edwards was accused of masterminding a scheme to use about $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy political donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.”

US v. John Edwards – Order for Dismissal

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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 again asks for acquittal

June 13, 2012

ABC News Local on June 13, 2012 released the following:

“CHAPEL HILL — John Edwards once again asked a federal judge Tuesday to acquit him of all criminal charges stemming from his recent trial.

A jury acquitted the former Democratic presidential candidate on one felony count of receiving illegal campaign contributions, but deadlocked on the remaining five counts. Federal officials are weighing whether to retry Edwards on the five unresolved charges.

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles ordered new briefs on whether two of the charges should be tried in a different federal court and whether prosecutors played an improper role in a civil lawsuit over ownership of a sex tape of Edwards and his mistress.

In new filing obtained Tuesday by ABC11, Edwards’ defense tells the judge that prosecutors got the venue wrong when they charged Edwards with accepting illegal campaign contributions from his wealthy friend Fred Baron in 2007 and 2008. It contends the only money linked to North Carolina was a chartered flight out of RDU that Baron paid for.

That’s technically Wake County, in the Eastern District of North Carolina – not the Middle District where he’s charged.

But, it’s a phone call Edwards made to his former aide Andrew Young that has prosecutors sticking to the charges. They say that in that call Edwards told Young to contact Baron to arrange that RDU flight in for his then-pregnant mistress.

If the judge sides with the defense, two of the charges would have to either be dismissed or tried elsewhere. The prosecution has until next week to respond.”

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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.


Edwards Verdict Shows Clemens Need Not Fear Taint Of Reputation

June 4, 2012

Bloomberg on June 3, 2012 released the following:

“By David Glovin

Jurors tend to look past a criminal defendant’s reputation, no matter how odious, to render verdicts based on fact and law, lawyers said after former presidential candidate John Edwards won an acquittal and mistrial last week.

Federal jurors in Greensboro, North Carolina, on May 31 acquitted Edwards of one charge of using illegal campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair and couldn’t decide about five other counts. They did so after hearing evidence that Edwards cheated on his dying wife and lied to the public about fathering a child with his paramour.

The verdict sends an encouraging signal to Roger Clemens, the former Major League Baseball pitcher now on trial in Washington for lying to Congress about his use of steroids, said Douglas Godfrey, a professor who teaches criminal law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

“While we would all acknowledge that Edwards and Clemens are not nice guys and they behaved in very bad ways, that’s not the same as violating the law,” Godfrey said in a telephone interview. “Just because you’re an arrogant SOB or philanderer, that’s not the same as committing a crime.”

Edwards’s acquittal and mistrial came 11 months after a Florida jury acquitted Casey Anthony, an Orlando mother accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter, and 22 years after a New York City jury rendered a not guilty verdict in the racketeering case of Imelda Marcos, the former Philippines first lady ridiculed for owning more than 1,000 pair of shoes. In those cases and others, public opinion had turned so harshly against the defendants that a conviction seemed almost an afterthought.

Then the jury weighed in.

Jury Speaks

“It’s a great affirmation of our jury system that people like Casey Anthony and John Edwards, who are personally unlikable and in many ways despicable, can still sit in front of a jury of 12 people and have those 12 people judge them based on the evidence,” said Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor who is now in private practice at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

Edwards, a former Democratic U.S. senator from North Carolina and presidential contender in 2008, was accused of violating campaign finance laws by accepting almost $1 million from multimillionaire heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron, a now-deceased trial attorney, to conceal an affair. The case marked the first time the government prosecuted someone for campaign violations when money was paid to a third party.

Jurors deliberated for nine days before reaching their partial verdict. They couldn’t agree on counts that included a claim that Edwards conspired to protect his candidacy by secretly soliciting and accepting the funds and causing his campaign to file false reports with the Federal Election Commission.

He’s unlikely to be retried, a person familiar with the matter said last week.

Adultery, Arrogance

Except for the defendants’ notoriety — Edwards for adultery and Clemens for arrogance — the two cases have few similarities, said Stefan Passantino, who heads the political law team at McKenna Long & Aldridge in Washington. Lying to Congress, which Clemens is accused of, is a far more established crime than the conduct for which Edwards was on trial, he said.

Still, both defendants have had to confront the prospect that jurors would convict because of their reputations. The Edwards jury didn’t, in part because defense lawyers shifted the focus to ex-campaign aide Andrew Young, who acted as a go- between on transactions involving Mellon and Baron and used some of their money to build his own $1.5 million home.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell also addressed the character issue head-on.

‘Moral Wrongs’

“John Edwards may have committed many moral wrongs but he did not commit a legal one,” Lowell told jurors during his closing argument. “He was a bad husband and lied to his family but there is not a remote chance that he violated campaign finance laws or committed a felony.”

Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor who is now at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Los Angeles, said jurors were attentive enough to the case’s nuances to see past Edwards’s reputation.

“Perceptions about personalities don’t govern verdicts,” he said. “In Edwards, personality didn’t rule.”

While Clemens is a seven-time Cy Young Award winner as the best pitcher in his league, he also ranks 14th in Major League Baseball for hitting 159 batters with pitches during his career.

Hurled Bat

Lawyers for Clemens, whose reputation for abrasiveness grew after he hurled a bat at an opposing player and because of his performance before Congress, have been taking a page from Edwards’s book. The ex-pitcher’s defense has been focused on tearing down the credibility of the government’s only eyewitness, Brian McNamee, Clemens’s former trainer.

McNamee testified he gave Clemens injections of steroids and human-growth hormone.

Clemens’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, got McNamee to admit he’d lied to federal investigators and accused him of alcohol abuse and engaging in a fraudulent scheme to obtain diet pills.

“The facts are very different, the personalities are different,” Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor who’s now a partner with McCarter & English LLP in Newark, New Jersey, said of the Clemens and Edwards cases.

‘Positive Message’

“But if there’s any positive message that Clemens can draw out of the Edwards verdict, it’s that jurors will look beyond whatever antipathy they may feel regarding their personal conduct and do their best to make a decision based solely on the facts and law presented to them at the trial,” Mintz said in a telephone interview.

Jacob Frenkel, a former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer who is now with Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker PA in Potomac, Maryland, said it’s proven lying, and not reputation, that puts many celebrity defendants behind bars. He pointed to Martha Stewart, who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2004 for obstructing justice by lying to prosecutors, and baseball player Barry Bonds, the career home-run record-holder who was convicted last year of obstructing justice for deceiving a grand jury.

Clemens is accused of obstructing justice and perjury.

“It is the acts of lying or obstruction that often are the downfall,” Frankel said in a telephone interview.

It’s not only Clemens who may take comfort in the Edwards verdict, said Michael Kendall, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery in Boston and a former federal prosecutor. In New York, Rajat Gupta, who was once a director of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and who ran McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003, is defending against charges that he leaked inside information to hedge fund co-founder Raj Rajaratnam.

Public Hostility

If Edwards could win an acquittal, so might Gupta, even amid public hostility to bankers and Wall Street in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis, he said.

“There are a thousand ways to derail a prosecution,” Kendall said in a telephone interview. “There’s an incredible common sense in collective good judgment in the jury system.”

The Edwards case is U.S. v. Edwards, 11-cr-161, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro). The Clemens case is U.S. v. Clemens, 10-cr-223, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington). The Gupta case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).”

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

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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 not guilty of illegal campaign contributions; mistrial on other charges

May 31, 2012

CNN on May 31, 2012 released the following:

“[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] The judge in the John Edwards trial has declared a mistrial on all counts except for the one on which the jury found the former presidential candidate not guilty, CNN producers in the courtroom said Thursday.

[Updated at 4:24 p.m. ET] The jury in the John Edwards trial has found the former presidential candidate not guilty on count three of accepting illegal campaign contributions from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon in 2008.

The jury said it was deadlocked on the other charges.

That was the sole count the jury had earlier that they had reached a unanimous verdict on. The jury was still deadlocked on the other charges.

The Justice Department will now have to decide whether to try him again on the other charges.

[Updated at 3:08 p.m. ET] The judge in former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards’ federal corruption trial has ordered jurors to continue deliberations after they announced they had reached a verdict on only one of six counts.

The judge will soon issue an “Allen charge,” which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.

[Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET] The prosecution has asked for the jury to go back in the jury room to deliberate. The defense has asked for a mistrial on the remaining counts.

The judge is taking a five minute recess on the matter. The judge has the option to issue an “Allen charge,” which is essentially a request from the court for the jury to go back into deliberations and try again to reach a unanimous verdict on all counts.

What are the charges against John Edwards?

[Posted at 2:53 p.m. ET] The jury in the John Edwards trial has only reached a unanimous decision on one charge against John Edwards.

The group of jurors said that as of this moment they could only agree on the charge of illegal campaign contributions from Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. We do not know which way the jury decided on that count.

Edwards, a former Democratic U.S. senator and presidential candidate, was charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions, falsifying documents and conspiring to receive and conceal the contributions. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Everything you need to know about John Edwards

Jurors last week asked to review all the exhibits, indicating they were in it for the long haul.

Prosecutors said Edwards “knowingly and willingly” accepted almost $1 million from two wealthy donors to hide former mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy, then concealed the donations by filing false and misleading campaign disclosure reports.

Defense attorneys argued that Edwards was guilty of nothing but being a bad husband to his wife, Elizabeth, who died in 2010. They also argued that former Edwards aide Andrew Young used the money for his own gain and to pay for Hunter’s medical expenses to hide the affair from Edwards’ wife.

Neither Edwards nor Hunter testified during the trial. The affair occurred as Edwards was gearing up for a second White House bid in 2008, and he knew his political ambitions depended on keeping his affair with Hunter a secret, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon told jurors in closing arguments.

Prosecutors argued that Edwards knowingly violated campaign finance laws by accepting the large contributions from Rachel Mellon and Fred Baron that went to support Hunter. Edwards “knew these rules well,” Higdon said, and should have known that the contributions violated campaign finance laws.

Edwards accepted $725,000 from Mellon and more than $200,000 from Baron, prosecutors said. The money was used to pay for Hunter’s living and medical expenses, travel and other costs to keep her out of sight while Edwards made his White House run, prosecutors say.”

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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 Jury Resumes Deliberation for 7th Day

May 29, 2012

ABC News on May 29, 2012 released the following:

Associated Press

“The jury in the John Edwards campaign corruption trial is deliberating for a seventh day after a judge gave the panel a stern warning not to talk about the case over the weekend.

The jurors reconvened Tuesday morning. The judge met in a closed courtroom Friday with attorneys to talk about a problem with a juror, but she did not elaborate.

The judge again met with the attorneys behind closed doors Tuesday, but their discussions were not made public.

Some of the alternate jurors wore matching shirts last week, and one of them was said to be flirting with Edwards.

Edwards faces six charges involving nearly $1 million provided by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House.”

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

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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.


Media motion seeks Edwards juror names at end of trial

May 26, 2012

The Charlotte Observer on May 24, 2012 released the following:

“The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer and other media organizations are seeking to make public the names of jurors deciding federal charges against John Edwards at the end of his trial at the U.S. District Court in Greensboro.

In a motion filed with the court Wednesday, the media organizations cited a local rule of the Greensboro court that prohibits the clerk’s office from disclosing without court permission the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people who have served on juries.

The panel deciding whether the former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate violated federal campaign-contribution laws is expected to begin its fifth day of deliberations Thursday. The jury has not been sequestered during more than four weeks of testimony or during deliberations.

The names of people serving on federal juries is public according to federal law, the media organizations argued in their court filings.

The motion also cites intense public interest in the trial and in how the jury ultimately rules. It argues that “there is no compelling governmental interest in withholding the identities of individuals who served on the jury. Moreover, given that the case has proceeded in open court with jurors whose identities are at least partially known, perpetuating the secrecy of the jury is an affront to the First Amendment in service of a weak interest with no hope of success.”

Joining in the motion are WRAL, WTVD, The New York Times Co., Media General, News 14 Carolina, NBC Universal and The Associated Press.”

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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 trial judge meets with attorneys on ‘juror matter’

May 26, 2012

Los Angeles Times on May 25, 2012 released the following:

“The panel is sent home for the Memorial Day weekend after six days of deliberations with no verdict in the campaign finance case.

By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The federal judge in the John Edwards trial closed her courtroom Friday afternoon to deal with what she called a “juror matter,” and then sent the jury home for the Memorial Day weekend with no verdict reached.

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles did not disclose what she and lawyers for both sides discussed during the 35 minutes the courtroom was closed to reporters and spectators. Jurors will return for a seventh day of deliberations Tuesday morning.

Before deliberations began on May 18, the jury foreman, a financial consultant, told the judge that he might have an upcoming scheduling conflict. On Friday, Eagles told lawyers for both sides to arrive early Tuesday in case she needs to discuss a juror matter with them.

As she does at the close of each session, Eagles reminded jurors not to discuss the case with anyone — even fellow jurors — outside the jury room, and to avoid all media reports about the trial.

The jury of eight men and four women must decide whether $925,000 in payments from two wealthy patrons were illegal campaign contributions during Edwards’ failed race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Edwards contends the payments were private gifts not directly related to the campaign.

After a sixth day of deliberations, it was not possible to determine whether the jury was divided over guilt versus acquittal, or merely being thorough and meticulous. The longer deliberations drag on, the greater the likelihood of a split verdict or, if disagreements cannot be resolved, a hung jury.

Jurors have asked to review more than 60 trial exhibits focusing on payments made to hide Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter, whom he had hired as a campaign videographer. The jury has met for about 34 hours over six days, after having listened to 31 witnesses and examined hundreds of exhibits during the monthlong trial.

Jurors troop in and out of the wood-paneled courtroom a couple of times a day, a collection of ordinary citizens in jeans, slacks and summer dresses. Some looked weary Friday. Others appeared restless. The faces of one or two jurors suggested mild annoyance.

Edwards, 58, unfailingly neat and trim in a dark suit, has studied jurors closely during their brief courtroom appearances over the past week, appraising their demeanor from his regular seat at the defense table.

The former U.S. senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee is charged with six counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted and sentenced to maximum penalties.

Jurors’ requests for exhibits this week indicate they have plowed through the first two counts, which involve $725,000 in checks from billionaire heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, an ardent Edwards supporter. Jurors now appear to be finishing up deliberations over the next two counts, involving payments from the late Fred Baron, a wealthy Texas lawyer who was Edwards’ national finance chairman.

Prosecutors say Edwards orchestrated the payments to cover up the affair and prevent his campaign from collapsing in scandal. The defense says the payments were intended to hide the affair from Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth Edwards, who had grown increasingly suspicious of her husband.

The other two counts against Edwards accuse him of causing his campaign to file false finance reports and conspiring to accept and conceal illegal contributions through “trick, scheme or device.”

The jurors must reach a unanimous decision on each count to convict. Eagles has instructed them that prosecutors don’t have to prove that the sole purpose of the payments was to influence the election — only that there was a “real purpose or an intended purpose” to do so.

However, Eagles also told the jurors: “If the donor would have made the gift or payment notwithstanding the election, it does not become a contribution merely because the gift or payment might have some impact on the election.””

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

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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.