The federal judge presiding over former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards’s trial on campaign finance charges dismissed an additional seven potential jurors on the second day of jury selection.
Most of those excused had work-related or family hardships, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles in Greensboro, North Carolina, said today. Eagles began interviewing 48 prospective jurors today in groups of 12. The jurors are part of a 128- person pool left over from the initial round of jury selections last week. The process of picking a jury is expected to run through April 19, Eagles said.
Edwards, 58, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, is charged with violating campaign finance rules and using almost $1 million in contributions to hide an affair. He has denied the charges. Each of the six counts he faces carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin April 23. Prosecutors allege Edwards solicited and funneled money from two wealthy donors, through a former aide, to hide his relationship with filmmaker Rielle Hunter. The money allegedly paid for flights, accommodations and medical and living expenses for Hunter, who was pregnant with Edwards’s child.
Edwards, subject of a two-year investigation, has repeatedly denied the charges, saying he never thought he was breaking the law. His lawyers contend the government is improperly applying election laws governing contributions.
The case is U.S. v. Edwards, 11-00161, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro).
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