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Thursday, May 31, 2012

John Edwards Trial: Acquitted On One Count, Hung Jury On Five Counts, Mistrial Declared

By Susan Duclos

ABC News:

A North Carolina jury found former Sen. John Edwards not guilty today on one of six counts in a campaign-finance trial, and declared itself hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining charges, leading the judge to declare a mistrial on those counts.

Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate, accused of soliciting nearly $1 million from wealthy backers to finance a cover up of his illicit affair and illegitimate child during his 2008 bid for the White House, was found not guilty on Count 3 of the six-part indictment.

That count pertained only to whether Edwards illegally received several hundred thousand dollars in donations from wealthy heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon to cover up the affair in 2008.

After nine days of deliberations, three times as long as the defense took to put on its case, the courtroom here was thrown into confusion when it briefly appeared the jury had reached on a verdict on all counts.
The jury informed the judge it had not reached a verdict and was charged again to go back to deliberating.
The other counts pertained to Mellon's donations in 2007, donations in 2007 and 2008 from another wealthy donor, Fred Baron, and a conspiracy charge.

Less than an hour after the judge sent them back to deliberate, the jury returned and declared itself hung on those five outstanding counts.

No word on whether prosecutors will attempt to retry the case.

More at Washington Post and MSNBC.