Feds drop case against John Edwards


Feds drop case against John Edwards

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C.

Federal prosecutors dropped all charges Wednesday against John Edwards, triggering criticism that the yearlong prosecution of the former presidential candidate was a waste of time and taxpayer money.

After a six-week trial in North Carolina, jurors acquitted Edwards on May 31 on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and deadlocked on five other felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a court order that it will not seek to retry Edwards on the five unresolved counts.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, who oversees the agency’s criminal division, said prosecutors knew the case, like all campaign-finance cases, would be challenging. But he said it is “our duty to bring hard cases” when warranted.

Prosecutors accused Edwards of masterminding a scheme to use about $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy political donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. He would have faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.

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