John Edwards trial: the prosecution rests


John Edwards leaves the Federal courthouse with his daughter Cate Edwards Upham after Edwards' first day of trial on April 23, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The once Democratic presidential candidate, Edwards plead not guilty to six counts of campaign finance violations. If sentenced he could face a maximum of 30 years in jail and $1.5 million in fines.


Sara D. Davis

Prosecutors rested their case against former Sen. John Edwards today after spending nearly three weeks arguing that he violated federal election laws during his 2008 campaign for president, Reuters reported.

Edwards is accused of using nearly $1 million in secret payments from his campaign finance manager Fred Baron and 101-year-old heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon to cover up an affair he had with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, who later had his baby, NBC News reported.

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Edwards has said the payments used to hide Hunter were gifts, not campaign contributions, ABC News reported. If convicted, he faces 30 years in prison.

The prosecution attempted to show that Edwards was motivated to hide Hunter because he was desperate to land a high-level position in Democratic administration, such as vice-president or attorney general, after his own campaign ran out of steam, ABC News reported.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case with a video of a 2008 “Nightline” interview John Edwards did with ABC News' Bob Woodruff, Reuters reported. In it, he denied that he was the father of Hunter’s baby.

According to ABC News:

Lawyers observing the case said the video made a dramatic conclusion to the prosecution's case, essentially putting Edwards on the stand and listening to him lie about things the jury now know to be true.

On Friday, Edwards' defense team plans to ask US District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles to dismiss the case, on the grounds that prosecutors haven't proven their case, NBC News reported.

If the trial continues, Edwards’ lawyers will begin presenting their case on Monday, according to NBC News. They may call Hunter, who’s been given immunity from prosecution, to the stand.

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