John Edwards After Mistrial Declared: 'No One Else Responsible for My Sins'
The case involving the affair between former Democratic Senator John Edwards and his mistress, Rielle Hunter, may be far from over. On Thursday the trial's presiding judge declared a mistrial after the jury informed the court that they were deadlocked on five counts but found him not guilty on one count.
Judge Catherine Eagles handed down her ruling after the jury foreman sent word to her that the group had reached a unanimous verdict on a single count against the one-time presidential candidate. But shortly after receiving instructions from the bench to continue discussions on the remaining five counts, the jurors said any further deliberations would be useless.
The one count that Edwards was cleared of involved the charge that he accepted and received illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon.
Edwards, who was also Sen. John Kerry's vice presidential running mate in 2004, had an affair with Hunter, who he fathered an out-of-wedlock child with in 2009. In an effort to cover up the relationship, Edwards' assistant, Andrew Young, and his wife, Cheryl, were given the task of taking care of Hunter and her unborn child. At one time Young admitted he was the father of the child.
After the mistrial was announced, Edwards addressed reporters outside of the Greensboro, N.C. courthouse and made another effort to renounce his actions while saying he did nothing illegal.
"I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. There is no one else responsible for my sins," said Edwards. He also expressed his appreciation to his family for standing by him, "including my precious Quinn," who is the daughter he fathered with Hunter.
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The government's case centered around the fact that two wealthy benefactors, Mellon and the late Fred Baron, provided nearly $1 million dollars toward taking care of Hunter in an effort to cover up the extramarital affair. The prosecution claimed the money amounted to illegal campaign contributions.
One of the key issues that the government failed to prove was that Edwards had knowledge of the funds and their use. Neither Edwards nor Hunter took the stand during the trial.
However, defense attorneys admitted that Edwards lied to his late wife and family about the relationship, but did not violate federal campaign election laws.
A mistrial gives the government another opportunity to retry Edwards on the five counts where the jury could not reach a verdict. He cannot be retried on the one count where he was found not guilty.
Judge Eagles did not set a date for retrial, only saying she could not find an availablity on her calendar until September or later.