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:

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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.


John Edwards trial: Alternate jurors — all in red — are talk of the courtroom

May 25, 2012

The Washington Post on May 25, 2012 released the following:

“By Manuel Roig-Franzia,

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Something exceedingly strange is happening at the John Edwards trial: all four alternate jurors dressed in red shirts Friday. They each wore bright yellow the day before.

Coincidence? Few here think so.

The demeanor of the alternate jurors and their behavior has become the talk of the courthouse. The alternates enter the courtroom each day giggling among themselves. One of the alternates, an attractive young woman, has been spotted smiling at Edwards and flipping her hair in what seems to some to be a flirtatious manner. On Friday, she wore a revealing red top with a single strap and an exposed right shoulder.

Her actions have not gone unnoticed by courtroom observers, some of whom have chatted about her in increasingly anxious tones during the long stretches of down time while the jury, now in its sixth day of deliberations, meets behind closed doors to decide whether Edwards should be convicted on six campaign finance and conspiracy charges.

The case centers on nearly $1 million in payments from the heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and the wealthy lawyer Fred Baron that prosecutors say was used to cover up Edwards’s affair with videographer Rielle Hunter and the child he fathered with her.

The alternate jurors play a supporting role in this drama. They watched the testimony, but will not vote on the verdict unless one of the 12 members of the main jury is removed. Two members of the jury also wore red tops on Friday. At times during breaks in deliberations, some jurors have gestured toward alternates, who sit at the opposite end of a small federal courtroom here that is packed each day with reporters awaiting a verdict.

The sight of all four alternates in red drew titters from an audience that had already noted that Edwards had ended his streak of wearing a green tie to court for four straight days. NBC’s Lisa Meyer asked Edwards whether he was wearing his lucky tie on Thursday, and he responded with a smile, “I’m not saying’.”

The color he chose on Friday? You guessed it: red.”

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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.


Jury to reconvene in ex-Senator Edwards’ federal trial

May 21, 2012

Chicago Tribune on May 21, 2012 released the following:

“Colleen Jenkins
Reuters

GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) – Jurors were set to resume deliberations on Monday in the federal campaign finance case against former U.S. Senator John Edwards, who is accused of using campaign funds to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the presidency.

A jury of eight men and four women in Greensboro, North Carolina, considered the case for about 5 1/2 hours on Friday before breaking for the weekend.

They must reach a unanimous verdict to convict Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate and the Democrats’ 2004 vice presidential nominee, on any of the six felony counts he faces.

Jurors have nearly four weeks of testimony to weigh as they decide whether Edwards, 58, coordinated a coverup aimed at keeping voters from learning of his extramarital affair while he sought the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Prosecutors said the scheme resulted in more than $900,000 from two supporters to be secretly funneled to Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter, and his aide, Andrew Young, who during the campaign falsely declared paternity of the baby Edwards fathered.

The Federal Election Campaign Act states that excess contributions are illegal if they are made for the purpose of influencing an election for federal office.

Edwards’ attorneys acknowledged that the former senator from North Carolina knew about the $2,300 limit on contributions from individuals.

But they argued that the payments from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and trial lawyer Fred Baron were private gifts – not political contributions – made to support Hunter and to prevent Edwards’cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, from learning he had fathered a child with his mistress.

The charges against John Edwards include conspiring to solicit the money, receiving more than the $2,300 allowed from any one donor, and failing to report the payments as contributions.

Each count carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.”

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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.


John Edwards’ defense team rests

May 16, 2012

CBS News on May 16, 2012 released the following:

“(AP) GREENSBORO, N.C. — John Edwards’ defense team rested Wednesday without calling the two-time Democratic presidential candidate or his one-time mistress to the witness stand, a sign of confidence after presenting little more than two days of testimony and evidence.

The defense had called a series of witnesses aimed at shifting the jury’s focus from the lurid details of a political sex scandal to the legal question of whether the Edwards’ actions violated federal campaign finance laws.

Prosecutors spent nearly three weeks trying to convince a jury that Edwards masterminded a conspiracy to use nearly $1 million secretly provided by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, as he sought the White House in 2008.

Many people watching the case believed Edwards would testify so the jury could hear directly from the former U.S. senator and trial lawyer, who had a reputation for his ability to sway jurors. But putting Edwards on the stand was also a gamble: It would have exposed him to withering cross-examination about his past lies and personal failings.

Most experts were convinced calling Hunter to testify would have dredged up more negatives and lies. The defense also elected not to question Edwards’ oldest daughter, Cate, who has sat behind Edwards nearly every day of the trial and could have helped humanize him.

At one point during the trial, she ran out of the courtroom in tears during testimony about her cancer-stricken mother confronting her father about his extramarital affair.

The judge told jurors that no more witnesses would be called. It’s unclear exactly when closing arguments would start, but most likely Thursday.

Edwards is charged with six criminal counts including conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act, accepting contributions that exceeded campaign finance limits, and causing his campaign to file a false financial disclosure report.

He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.

Edwards has sat quietly at the defense table throughout his trial, whispering with his lawyers and rarely showing reaction to the often emotional testimony from witnesses who were once among his strongest supporters and closest friends. He has made no public statements since October, following a pre-trial hearing where a judge refused to throw out the criminal case against him.

“After all these years, I finally get my day in court and people get to hear my side of this, and what actually happened,” Edwards said last year on the steps of the federal courthouse in Greensboro. “And what I know with complete and absolute certainty is I didn’t violate campaign laws and I never for a second believed I was violating campaign laws.”

At the trial, prosecutors have shown two members of Edwards’ inner circle, campaign finance chairman Fred Baron and once-close aide Andrew Young, engaged in a yearlong cover-up to hide the married presidential candidate’s mistress from the media. Young, who is married, falsely claimed paternity of his boss’ baby and received $725,000 in secret checks from an elderly heiress, using some of the money to care for Hunter.

Baron, a wealthy Texas lawyer, provided Young and Hunter with more than $400,000 in cash, luxury hotels, private jets and a $20,000-a-month rental mansion in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Prosecutors have introduced phone records, voicemails and other evidence showing Edwards was in frequent contact with Baron, Young and Hunter, all while his mistress was in hiding. Former members of Edwards’ campaign also testified that Baron spoke of “moving Hunter around” in the candidate’s presence and that Edwards told his speechwriter he knew “all along” what Baron was up to.

However, in 14 days of testimony, no witness ever said Edwards knew he was violating campaign finance laws, a key element of criminal intent the government must prove to win a conviction.

The defense also undercut the credibility of Young, whom bank records showed siphoned off most of the money from Mellon to build his expansive $1.6 million dream house. Baron wired another $325,000 to the company building Young’s house.

Jurors were also read a stipulation about a sex tape the Youngs had, purportedly showing Edwards and a pregnant Hunter. Jurors were told Andrew Young considered selling the tape, and during his last personal encounter with Edwards on a rural North Carolina road, he told Edwards he had the tape.

The tape had only briefly been mentioned during the trial until Wednesday.

Before his indictment, Edwards rejected a potential plea agreement with federal prosecutors that would have allowed him to serve as little as six months and keep his law license.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina law school, John Edwards made his fortune handling medical malpractice and corporate negligence cases before turning to politics following the death of his 16-year-old son Wade in a 1996 auto accident. Edwards was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998 and was John Kerry’s running mate in 2004.

Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, died of cancer in December 2010. He is now a single parent of two school-aged children, ages 13 and 11, who live with their father at the family’s gated estate outside Chapel Hill. Edwards’ 30-year-old daughter Cate is a lawyer who married last year.

After years of denials, Edwards admitted fathering his Hunter’s baby in January 2010, shortly after agreeing to pay child support. The girl, now 4, lives with her mother in Charlotte.”

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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.


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.


John Edwards Defense Relies on Definition of ‘The’

May 14, 2012

ABC News on May 14, 2012 released the following:

By JAMES HILL and BETH LOYD

“Not since Bill Clinton challenged the definition of “is” has so much hinged on a very short word.

John Edwards appears to basing much of his defense, which begins today in a North Carolina courtroom, on the legal interpretation of the word “the.”

Edwards has listened to three weeks of testimony meant to prove that he violated federal campaign finance laws by using nearly $1million in donations to hide his mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy during his bid for the 2008 presidential election and in the months after he dropped out — but was still angling to be vice president or attorney general.

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

The statute governing illegal receipt of campaign contributions “means any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money… for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office.”

The words “the purpose” suggests that in order for a conviction, the sole reason for the money would have to be to finance a presidential campaign.

Edwards’ legal team has argued he did not know it might be illegal, did not intend to break the law and that his main reason for hiding Hunter was to keep her secret from his wife, Elizabeth, who was dying of breast cancer.

Prosecutors, however, are arguing the law should be interpreted to mean “a purpose,” meaning use of the donations does not have to be solely for a political campaign.

“It is sufficient under the law if you find that the gift, purchase, or payment was made for, among other purposes, the purpose of influencing any election for federal office,” prosecutors argued in court filings last week.

Edwards’ lawyer Abbe Lowell has argued that prosecutors are asking the jury to “invent a new crime” with its interpretation of the law.

Edwards’ legal team will begin its defense today, which is expected to last a week. He may have a lot to overcome. Prosecutors concluded their case last week by showing an interview Edwards gave to ABC News’ “Nightline” program in which he clearly lied several times, including denying that he had fathered Hunter’s baby.

Judge Catherine Eagles also rejected a motion by Edwards’ team to dismiss the charges against him.

The defense is expected to go after the prosecution’s key witness Andrew Young, a former Edwards’ aide who helped hide Hunter, going on the road with her to keep her away from the press, even claiming paternity for his boss.

Edwards defense has argued that much of the money was solicited by Young and he used the scandal to enrich himself.

Among Edwards’ witnesses will likely be his daughter Cate, who has been his most visible supporter throughout the trial.

Hunter is on Edwards’ list of witnesses, but it’s not clear whether she will be called. Her presence in the courtroom could be volatile.

It’s not yet known whether Edwards will take the stand in his own defense.”

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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.