Prosecution Rests After Presenting Video of Edwards’s Lies About His Affair

May 11, 2012

The New York Times on May 10, 2012 released the following:

“By KIM SEVERSON

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Prosecutors rested their case against former Senator John Edwards on Thursday, offering as their last piece of evidence a national television interview he did in 2008 in which he denied much about the affair that ultimately brought him to the federal courtroom here.

Watching Mr. Edwards watch himself lie was the most electric moment yet in a three-week trial that has been relatively light on federal campaign law and heavy on dramatic narrative.

Mr. Edwards, 58, faces six counts of conspiracy and violating campaign laws. The Department of Justice contends he illegally used at least $925,000 in money from two wealthy donors to hide his mistress and their child as he pursued the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

The actual amount spent keeping the affair from his family and the public is well over a million dollars, but the government is focusing only on money spent until he suspended his campaign at the end of January 2008.

The affair had begun a couple of years earlier, but remained largely a rumor. The National Enquirer ran an article in October 2007 about the affair that was ignored by other news media. But when it published a photograph of Mr. Edwards holding his baby in a Beverly Hills hotel, the story took on a new life.

Instead of admitting it, Mr. Edwards allowed an aide to claim paternity. The aide, Andrew Young, then took his own family and Mr. Edwards’s pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, on the run, eventually ending up renting a mansion for about $20,000 a month in Santa Barbara, Calif. The baby, Frances Quinn Hunter, was born in February 2008, a month after Mr. Edwards suspended his run for the presidency. As the race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama progressed, Mr. Edwards still held out hope for a position as attorney general or eventually as a Supreme Court justice.

By that August, with the Democratic National Convention weeks away, he thought he could make the story go away by confessing to a brief affair but deny that the baby, at that point 6 months old, was his.

So he asked Jennifer Palmieri, his former press secretary and a close friend of his wife, Elizabeth, to help arrange an interview on the ABC News program “Nightline” with the reporter Bob Woodruff, who has attended the trial nearly every day.

Mr. Edwards was going to use a “thread the needle” strategy, said Ms. Palmieri, who is now a deputy director of communications for the White House.

That is, he would confess to a brief affair and claim that it was over and that he and his wife had reconciled. He would deny both that the baby was his and that he arranged to pay to support Ms. Hunter.

Ms. Palmieri advised him against it. She had come to believe the baby was his.

“I told him I didn’t think he should do an interview if he was going to lie,” she told the court. “He didn’t need any more press attention at this point.”

She knew his political career was essentially over, she testified Wednesday.“He was deluded for thinking otherwise,” she said.

Still, he went ahead with the interview. It played for nearly 20 minutes on screens around the courtroom, including one on the defense table directly in front of him.

Mr. Edwards watched a younger, happier-looking version of himself sitting forward in a chair in his Chapel Hill home, taking question after question.

Was the affair over? “Oh, yes. It’s been over for a long time.” Is that your baby? “That is absolutely not true.”

Two weeks earlier, he had been photographed at the Beverly Hills Hilton holding Quinn. But in the interview, he claimed no knowledge of who the baby was or where the photo had come from.

The short affair happened when his wife’s cancer was in remission, he said, and was the result of narcissism and the conflicts that come from rising so high after growing up as a small-town boy with humble roots.

Mr. Edwards, whose wife died in 2010, watched himself assert repeatedly that he never spent money supporting his former mistress and her child.

“If the allegation is that somehow I participated in the payment of money, that is a lie,” he said. He said he would take a paternity test if asked.

“One of the purposes of this interview, Bob, is to tell the truth,” he said.

As the video ran, Mr. Edwards’s reaction was muted. He closed his eyes now and again, and sometimes touched his fingertips to his lips. When it was over and court was adjourned, his lawyer clapped him on the shoulder. Mr. Edwards laughed.

He and his defense team appear confident that he will not be convicted, and that he will escape up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

At the close of court on Wednesday, with the prosecution nearing the end of its case, Mr. Edwards turned to the head of his defense team, Abbe Lowell, and said, “This is their case?”

On Friday, his lawyers will ask Judge Catherine C. Eagles to dismiss the charges, claiming the government has not presented a strong enough case against him to go to the jury.

If she denies their motion, Mr. Edwards’s defense will begin Monday. Whether Mr. Edwards will testify in his own defense remains unclear.”

————————————————————–

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.


John Edwards Prosecutors Face Decision Time on Whether to Call Mistress

May 9, 2012

ABC News on May 9, 2012 released the following:

By JAMES HILL, BETH LOYD and RUSSELL GOLDMAN

“The prosecution of John Edwards is near the end of its case, raising questions by observers: have they succeeded in tying Edwards’ mistress cover up to campaign funds, and will the mistress — Rielle Hunter — be called by the prosecution.

The court expects to find out by the end of today whether prosecutors will call Hunter to the stand. The prosecution has said it intends to wrap up its case by Thursday.

Before Hunter is called, the jurors can expect to hear today from Jennifer Palmieri, a former Edwards aide who was a close confidante of Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, who has since died of cancer.

Palmieri was present when Elizabeth Edwards confronted her husband’s wealthy backer Fred Baron and Baron’s wife in 2007 over their support and friendship with Hunter. According to pretrial motions, John Edwards was present at that meeting.

The bigger issue, however, is whether Hunter will be called by prosecutors.

“There is one person who seems to be at the center of all of this, these spinning planets, and that’s Rielle Hunter,” Steve Friedland, professor of law at Elon University, told ABC News.

But there is a risk in calling Hunter.

“She can tie it together for them. Of course, what’s come out, she may be unreliable and who knows what she might say on the witness stand,” Friedland said.

And there are risks of not calling her.

“If they don’t call her, she will probably be called by the defense. So, in all likelihood, they will have to call her given that she is the glue here. The jury may figure, why are they not calling her?” Friedland said.

What the prosecution would want Hunter to confirm is that the cover up “was about the campaign and not just a private matter,” Friedland said.

“She’s the witness who can provide first hand knowledge. She’s dangerous for the prosecution, but sometimes you don’t get to choose your own witnesses. You have to call who’s available,” he said.

Kieran Shanahan, a former prosecutor who has been in court every day of the trial, believes the prosecution’s hand will be forced.

“I still believe, as a practical matter, the government will call Miss Hunter, and if they don’t, then certainly the defense will,” Shanahan told ABC News.

The prosecution still has to complete its case, he said, that Edwards violated federal campaign finance rules during his run for the presidency by using nearly $1 million funnelled to him to hide Hunter and her pregnancy.

Edwards claims the money was used to hide the girlfriend from his wife, not the government.

If convicted, Edwards could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“I think the government, to bring the case home, is going to have to nail cleanly that Edwards knew what he was doing was wrong,” Shanahan said.

Both lawyers said that the testimony of many of the prosecution’s witnesses helped the defense as well as the prosecution.

“What helped the government was that he admitted that he knew money was going from Fred Baron to his daughter Quinn… But did he accept it for the campaign or to help his daughter? That is still an open issue,” Friedland said.

“Tying this to the campaign…. that hiding the money was hiding it because he didn’t want it attached to the campaign. It’s this kind of relationship that has to be bridged. Right now, the bridge is not built completely and this is called reasonable doubt,” Friedland said.”

————————————————————–

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

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.