BIG BAD JOHN R. 2012/05/11 06:36:29
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Prosecutors rest case against ex-Sen. John Edwards

Greensboro, N.C. --

Prosecutors rested their case against John Edwards on Thursday after calling to the witness stand some of his closest friends and advisers, many of whom gave dramatic, often unflattering testimony about the former presidential candidate whose once-promising political career collapsed amid a sex scandal.

Edwards is accused of being the mastermind behind a plan to use secret payments from two wealthy campaign donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. The trial centers on whether Edwards knew what the money was being used for, and when he knew it.

While the past 14 days of testimony has focused on the money trail, the trial has also revisited Edwards' breathtaking fall. He had an affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer on his campaign, as he renewed his marriage vows to his cancer-stricken wife. He fathered a child with Hunter and then a decision was made for his right-hand man to claim paternity so Edwards could keep up his lofty political ambitions. And he lied repeatedly to his wife, his advisers and the public.

Jurors will have to look beyond Edwards' character, though. As prosecutors wrapped up their case, they showed the jury records detailing the money spent to hide Hunter - $319,500 in cash, luxury hotels, private jets and a $20,000-a-month rental mansion in Santa Barbara. The bills, flashed up on a large screen for the jury to see, were all paid by Fred Baron, a wealthy Texas lawyer who served as Edwards' 2008 campaign finance chairman.

Baron began paying the expenses after tabloid reporters tracked down the pregnant mistress in Chapel Hill, where she had been secretly living in a house rented for her only a few miles from the Edwards family estate. Hunter was being closely watched over by Edwards' once-close confidant, Andrew Young, who falsely claimed paternity of his boss' baby as the tabloid prepared to expose the affair.

As part of the cover-up, Baron paid for Hunter - and Young and his wife - to cross the country on private flights worth more than $80,000 and stay in waterfront hotel suites costing nearly $44,000, including bar tabs and frequent room service. Baron also leased a mansion in Santa Barbara for the mistress as she prepared to give birth, with total costs over the next eight months totaling $184,378.

Several witnesses testified that Edwards knew what the money was spent on; others were less definitive.

The government must prove Edwards had criminal intent, and his defense team will ask U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles on Friday to dismiss the case, arguing they haven't proven their case. If the judge allows the trial to go forward, the defense will begin presenting its side Monday - and may call Hunter to testify. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six counts related to campaign finance violations. Prosecutors say he spearheaded a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from Baron and 101-year-old heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon to hide his affair and keep his presidential campaign viable.

Edwards denies knowing about the secret payments, which his lawyers contend were gifts from friends rather than campaign contributions. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/10/M...

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/10/M...

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/10/M...

Associated Press

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/05/10/M...
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  • Gloria 2012/06/01 12:32:43
    There was no proof.
  • ~Adrien~ 2012/05/11 20:46:19
    He had an affair, how could he not know how his mistress was being supported? HE obviously wasn't paying her expenses out of his own pocket. This article does not clearly state that the champaign contributors did not know what the funds were being used for, so I would say, he is guilty of being a sleazebag for sure. . .
  • Veritas 2012/05/11 14:15:09
  • Stacie 2012/05/11 11:57:52
    John Edwards is nothing short of pond scum in my eyes.

    john edwards demotivational john edwards pond scum eyes john edwards demotivational john edwards demotivational
  • DJPanicDC 2012/05/11 09:08:09
    A slime ball for sure but that is not illegal

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