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John Edwards lost a bid for dismissal of criminal charges arising from his alleged misuse of presidential campaign funds to hide an extramarital affair.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles today denied a defense request she throw out the case, ruling prosecutors presented sufficient proof to allow jurors at the federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina, to decide the former senator’s fate. The trial started on April 23.
Edwards, 58, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate, was accused of illegally using almost $1 million in campaign contributions to hide his affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter as he sought to be his party’s 2008 presidential nominee. Edwards also has a child with Hunter, who was hired as a videographer for his campaign.
“John Edwards did not drop out of the sky in 2007 into a world of campaign finance he knew nothing about,” prosecutor David Harbach told Eagles today as he opposed the dismissal bid.
Edwards has maintained his innocence, asserting that the funds in question weren’t campaign donations and came from his friendships with a 101-year-old multimillionaire heiress, Rachel Mellon, and Fred Baron, a now-deceased trial attorney.
His attorneys have said they will present evidence in his defense. The trial is set to resume on May 14.
“There’s one gaping hole in all the accounts,” defense attorney Abbe Lowell argued today, “that Mr. Edwards took any action that violated the law or that he had knowledge that he was violating the law.”
Eagles, a former state court judge, was appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama, a Democrat.
The case is U.S. v. Edwards, 11-00161, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro).
To contact the reporters on this story: Andrew Harris in Chicago at firstname.lastname@example.org; John Peragine in Greensboro, North Carolina, at email@example.com
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