Friday, June 03, 2011

Edwards Indictment

[Update, 6 June. 4.40pm: And, in another intersection between the Edwards affair and the fringes of the lacrosse case, check out this sensational co-authored piece by Joe Neff, detailing the plea bargain negotiations between the Edwards team and the Justice Department.]

Former North Carolina senator and two-time presidential candidate John Edwards was indicted today, on six counts related to his cover-up of an affair with a campaign aide. The charges were filed in the Middle District of North Carolina, and so it's little surprise that Edwards has reached out to the area's best criminal defense attorneys: both Wade Smith and Jim Cooney are members of the Edwards defense team. Cooney told American Lawyer that he took the case in part because of his longstanding ties to Edwards, dating from the time when Edwards was among the state's leading plaintiffs' attorneys.

Though Edwards' behavior was undeniably unethical (he arranged for massive payments from a 96-year-old wealthy friend and donor to his mistress, all while publicly denying the affair and the woman's resulting pregnancy), it might not have been illegal. In any event, the prosecution will be a precedent-setter, one way or the other.

This is, by the way, the second occasion in which the Edwards campaign intersected with the fringes of the lacrosse case. In 2004, during his first presidential bid, Edwards ran as a Southern moderate. But in 2008, he reinvented himself as a far-left, anti-poverty crusader. As part of this effort, in early 2007, the Edwards campaign hired as its official blogger Amanda Marcotte, known for her intemperate rhetoric and extremist views.

Though Edwards, a North Carolinian and former law partner of Wade Smith, had remained silent on the lacrosse case, Marcotte had lots to say. Among her insights: "Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?"

Once her words attracted public attention, Marcotte deleted them from her blog.

Marcotte eventually departed the Edwards campaign after an outcry over her anti-religious rants. And, of course, Edwards eventually departed the presidential race, after losing in Iowa and New Hampshire, and then getting crushed in Nevada and South Carolina.


Joey said...

Marcotte and Edwards deserved each other.

The Drill SGT said...

While he may get off on the 4 money laundrying charges and therefore the conspiracy charge, I think he'll have a harder time with the "making a false statement" charge. Both the FBI and Grand Juries have low humor threshholds.

ask Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby

Which is why, BTW, Weiner wuill never ask the FBI about his hacking...

Anonymous said...

No doubt about it! Edwards is a racist and homophobic: All his mistresses are Caucasian and female.

It makes on wonder if he is also a Communist.

guiowen said...

It's really a very strange interpretation of the campaign finance regulations. Apparently any money given to a political candidate is treated as a campaign contribution. Presumably Bunny Mellon's money helped the campaign in the sense that, if Elizabeth Edwards had made a stink about Rielle Hunter, the campaign would have been dead. Thus (the theory goes) the money was a campaign contribution. Then, on the one hand, Bunny was giving him more money than any individual donor is allowed. On the other, the money was being used for purposes other than campaign financing.
I guess prosecutors really enjoy catching the big fish. I don't like John Edwards but this is ridiculous.

A Duke Dad said...

Oh my.

This is a Main Stream Media (MSM) report.

The individual is described as a despicable #^@#^&*,
but nowhere is his political affiliation (Democrat) mentioned.

All the news (that fits our agenda) we print.

Barbara Seville said...

Marcotte-watch Update.

After La Marcotte's credibility took such a hit here as a result of her Duke remarks and the Edwards fiasco, she reinvented herself as a columnist for The Guardian, a reputable English newspaper. The 'Comments' section following her columns occasionally features caustic references to her Duke comments, but not as many as she deserves.

Her latest thoughts about John Edwards can be found at:

Anonymous said...

Lawyers take these cases to make money.
Nothing more & nothing less.

Anonymous said...

Well, this will not exactly improve Deborah's impressions of our Duke LAX defense team, will it?

But Mr. Edwards is entitled to a defense, no?

The country dodged a bullet there at least.

Let's hope Ms. Marcotte matures into a more thoughtful person before we encounter her again.


Anonymous said...

John Edwards make an ideal Great White Defendant, better than Martha Stewart. There are more serious crimes around to be prosecuted, but Federal authorities apparently like this type of trial.

You would think more liberals would notice that their own kind of people (Edwards and Stewart) are sometimes selected for these trials, not just "conservatives" like Libby.

As KC wrote, it is questionable whether what Edwards did was illegal. A sin in is not necessarily a crime. Didn't virtually all liberals make this argument about Bill Clinton's actions regarding the Lewinsky affair?

William L. Anderson said...

I agree wholeheartedly with K.C., and a number of lawyers, one of them very prominent, on an email list with me have been burning up the lines with this one. As we see it, Edwards, in the words of one of them, "was indicted on a theory."

Here is the problem that I have: the jurors are supposed to decide WHETHER OR NOT A LAW EVEN WAS BROKEN. Juries should not be put in positions like that.

A person should be on trial if, and only if, a law was broken and the jury then decides if the person in the dock committed the crime. Unfortunately, federal crimes are so murky and pliable that jurors often assume that if a person is on trial, then a law MUST have been broken.

Yet, that is not necessarily the case. I'm sorry, but "money laundering" here is a sick joke. And since federal agents don't take notes, and given the fact that the FBI manual instructs agents to lie, if I were a juror, I would NOT believe an FBI agent's testimony without outside corroboration. These guys just lie too much to be believed on their own accord.

The Hounds of TASSers'ville said...

Off topic, but we feel worthy of note:

Inside Higher Ed has a piece lamenting
how hard sexual assault investigations are on the "victim."

In particular, take note of the first Title IX "expert" they rely on...

Not that IHE was a great bastion of propriety anyhow.

Posted by Hound No. 2
The Hounds of TASSers'ville

One Spook said...

William L. Anderson on 6/6/11 @ 10:21, writes: ... given the fact that the FBI manual instructs agents to lie,"

Bill: Could you please post that portion of the "FBI manual" that "instructs agents to lie?"

Since you assert that this instruction is a "given" and a "fact," I'm sure you can easily find the reference to which you refer. I'm certain that this reference would be a valuable aid not only to DIW readers, but to legions of defense attorneys nationwide.

Thank you in advance.

One Spook