May 18, 2012

"Campaign finance laws are designed to bring the two Americas together at election time... John Edwards forgot his own rhetoric."

Said the prosecutor to the jury.

"This is a case that should define the difference between a wrong and a crime... between a sin and a felony... John Edwards has confessed his sins. He will serve a life sentence for those. But he has pleaded not guilty to violating the law." — Said the defense attorney.

Which side has the better argument?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

25 comments:

Patrick said...

Can't they both lose?

ndspinelli said...

That would be a hung jury; but that's sort of a win for the defense attorney because when the US attorney re-files...more billing time.

traditionalguy said...

The Jury will get Edwards because they seriously don't like him. That's how it works.

Edwards only hope is a Directed Verdict or a reversal upon appeal for not being granted one.

ndspinelli said...

traditionalguy, Juries loved him as an ambulance chaser.

rhhardin said...

I forgot the arguments already.

bagoh20 said...

Just imagine if he was elected President. What a mess that would be right now. This whole thing drawn out in detail all day, every day. God, that would suck!

But this trial never would have happened. Would the press have somehow squelched this? They seem pretty talented at ignoring the Obama scandals, and Edwards would not have the magic of being the One, which has made liberals in the media completely abandon their jobs. Alternate histories are fascinating. You never really know how consequential small things might be.

bagoh20 said...

"Juries loved him as an ambulance chaser."

I think he's much more convincing as a villain than a hero, but that depends on the listener. I never got a thrill over a white night on a silky pony. In this villain role, he has used and harmed women, which is normal fan base, so I think he's in trouble here.

prairie wind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elliott A said...

The juries wouldn't love him as ambulance chaser if they knew the consequences of their votes: a state seriously depopulated of obstetricians. He drove many either to bankruptcy, or exile, for procedure later shown to have no connection with the deformities the juries were awarding for. He uses people then throws them away, and this makes it easily to see him swindling rich old ladies and misusing campaign funds.

Mitchell said...

A proper sentence would be for John Edwards to change his hair color to pink.

prairie wind said...

Three Felonies a Day. No such thing as a plain old sin anymore.

TosaGuy said...

The moral is don't be a major Democrat who has been rendered utterly powerless and is of no use to anybody. You will be thrown to the wolves.

If John Edwards was of any use to any voting block, all of this would have quietly went away, lest provoking anger in the group that would support John Edwards (who ever that would have been).

Hillary Clinton, although beaten, remained dangerous to Obama so she was found a place at the table of power. Edwards held no such power and his creepy behavior (which is still like a choir boy when compared to the likes of Ted Kennedy) made it easy for him to experience the full weight of the judicial process and the court of American public opinion.

The Dems said it was okay to destroy John Edwards.

tim maguire said...

I still don't understand the charges against him. As best I can tell, it goes like this:

The money somebody spent on his girlfriend is campaign money. Not reporting it is a violation. But spending it on his girlfriend is also a violation.

So to win, prosecutors have to first successfully argue that it was campaign money than argue that it was not treated like campaign money.

Isn't there an inherent contradiction in this argument?

edutcher said...

This is why tar and feathers was such a hallowed American tradition.

Joe said...

John Edwards is scum, but from the summaries I've heard (and they are limited) the prosecution presented very little evidence of a crime. Unless there was a whole lot more information presented than reported, I predict he will be acquitted and don't care.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Wow. I thought I would be the only once choosing the defense in the poll.

This was hush money; but as far as any evidence I can find tells me, it was not campaign money. Ergo it is not a violation of the campaign laws under which he was charged.

Sleazy, but not criminal as charged.

I think the same is true in the whole Rev. Wright imbroglio that just resurfaced: if no campaign funds were involved, then I don't see any crime in a private citizen offering another private citizen money to not say something. Sleazy, but not criminal.

Balfegor said...

Re: Tim Maguire:

I think the claim is that some third party spending the money on his mistress is a campaign contribution vastly in excess of the campaign contribution limits (violation). It was unreported (violation). Not sure why they aren't going after Bunny Mellon who actually made the contribution (if it even counts as a contribution), but oh well. It may be a scienter issue -- that Edwards knew what the limits were, was familiar with campaign finance laws (in a general way), etc., and she didn't. Haven't been following closely.

traditionalguy said...

Ndspineli...Juries loved the stories told by a sincere young man to gat justice for a terrible injury to a baby.

This Jury faces a low class sex addict who tortured his dying wife to get some strange pussy on the road, and then did the ultimately stupid act which was to fall in love with the whore, put her on retainer,impregnate her, and lie about it hoping the wife dies quickly.

Believe me, southern Bible Belt Juries have higher standards than that.

They may not understand hoax science from"experts", but they do understand cheap lust addicts who destroy families. That's right in their wheel house.

Joe said...

"Campaign finance laws are designed to bring the two Americas together at election time,"

What bullshit. Campaign finance laws are designed to help incumbents get reelected.

(Even if you naively think Campaign finance laws are to limit outside influence in elections, they sure as hell have nothing to do with bring anyone together. I'd acquit based on the grounds that the prosecution are idiots.)

tim maguire said...

Balfegor, that's kind of my point--the prosecutors have to get creative with the definition of "campaign donation" in order to argue that this is one. They then have to turn around and argue that the parties should be punished for not treating it like a campaign donation.

Their second argument undermines their first.

bgates said...

It's too bad Rielle gave birth already, otherwise the prosecutor could have given voice to the fetus' shame over its father's crimes.

Beldar said...

In the personal injury lawsuits that Edwards tried before he became a politician, he was continually speaking to and interacting with the jurors, but was never testifying, and never the subject of the questions asked of the jury.

This jury, by contrast, has seen and heard a great deal from John Edwards as a vice presidential nominee in 2004 and as a presidential candidate in 2008, but not a flippin' word from him during this trial. HE DID NOT TAKE THE STAND.

If anything, the fact that he had the reputation of being a successful trial lawyer may actually hurt him to the extent that the jury ponders (contrary to their instructions) his failure to take the stand in his own defense. He doesn't have the excuse of being nervous or shy or inarticulate, and the remaining explanations aren't flattering.

I'm not sure what the outcome will be, but I think the odds are against Edwards now because Judge Eagles apparently refused the defense team's requested jury instruction that would have limited the definition of "campaign contribution" to only those things intended EXCLUSIVELY to benefit a campaign. (Prosecutors argue -- correctly, I believe -- that something of value contributed for the benefit of a candidate and his campaign can have multiple purposes, and that even if these hush money payments were also intended to deceive Elizabeth Edwards, that isn't inconsistent with the money from Bunny and Dead Fred being intended to prevent the American public from finding out what a loathsome hyena Johnny Reid Edwards actually is, in order to preserve his slender hopes that his campaign might lead to the nomination or some consolation prize (like another Veep nomination, a cabinet seat, or a SCOTUS seat).

Beldar said...

@ tim maguire: Prosecutors don't have to "get creative" at all. All they have to do is point the jurors to the judge's questions and definitions, which in turn are drawn directly from the statute.

Beldar said...

I've just updated the post on my blog that I linked above (and link again here) to include a link to a .pdf from PACER of the Final Jury Instructions, and to quote the language (from pp. 8-9) that I think are likely to be determinative.

Anyone having trouble figuring out what the case is really about should invest the time to read Judge Eagles' instructions to the jury -- it's all there, and organized and summarized quite ably and, IMHO, quite correctly under the terms of the federal campaign finance laws.

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