Here’s the report:
Johnny Reid Edwards, a honey-voiced North Carolina lawyer who parlayed his boyish good looks and inspiring personal history as the son of a mill-worker into a meteoric political rise, was acquitted of one count Thursday in a corruption case, as the judge declared a mistrial on five other charges on which the jury was deadlocked.
The mixed result in a trial that laid bare Edwards’s sexual indiscretions and serial deceptions came after nine days of jury deliberations.
When the decision was read by the clerk, Edwards’s face betrayed no emotion, but he slumped back in his chair. Moments later, he turned to his parents, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards, and they smiled at him broadly.
I sort of thought he would be convicted just for being a degenerate sleazeball, but I guess I was wrong. I hope the prosecution has the common sense to just listen to the jury and move on without wasting millions retrying this.
“Acquitted” is strong. 5 of 6 counts could be charged again. Kunapipi knows I’m hoping he isn’t (because for goodness’ sake, enough already), but he didn’t get off completely. This time.
Why am I disappointed?
You know, he was the only one really talking about income inequality back when he was Gore’s running mate, and I hate that his personal failings sidelined that discussion until the Occupy movement really got going.
I just saw Edwards photograph, he seems to have aged a lot in the last 4 years.
Why do we always let the rich off the hook?
Hopefully now he’ll just go the hell away and we won’t hear from or about him again.
@Mart: Thank you.
I just think it should be dropped. He’s got cancer and more importantly to his ego, his entire life will be summed up as unfaithful cad.
Jay in Oregon
Wait, his legal name is actually Johnny Reid Edwards?
I thought the WaPo was being exceptionally dickish in calling him that, but Wikipedia concurs.
Maybe – hopefully – for the last time: Mills!
Stuck in the Funhouse
Not the least bit surprised. The best legal talent for pols, Abbe Lowell, and an alleged crime that is difficult to prove, for something campaigns everywhere do every day with nepotistic pay outs for all sorts of friends and relatives. This one had the douchebaggery of the perp screwing around on his dying wife, and I suspect the prosecutors thought they could wield that detail into a conviction. Besides, Edwards is a cuty to the ladies, not lost on color coordinated alternate jururs making fashion statements to voice their solidarity with Mr. E, with one especially hot to trot.
Scott Horton will likely be along any time now with a post ripping the Public Integrity Section at DOJ a new one for fucking up yet again. He’s probably right about that. They railroaded Don Seligmann. They committed 31 flavors of misconduct in the Stevens case, when they probably could have played by the rules and still gotten a conviction. And this case never made a lick of sense.
@burnspbesq: I thought those who committed the misconduct in Steven’s case were Dubya’s people.
No, you were right. You can only be convicted of that charge in the court of public opinion.
There’s no law against being a degenerate sleazeball. I don’t particularly care if a politician is a degenerate sleazeball in their private life. Regardless of Edwards’ personal failings, his “Two Americas” speech at the 2004 convention described the gulf between the wealthy and the rest of the country, and his agenda for repairing this inequality and providing equal opportunities for all Americans should be a part of the Party agenda.
Evolving Deep Southerner
Oh, yes. And hasn’t that been a resounding success as a movement?
John Edwards has been VINDICATED!
With the convention being held in North Carolina, I expect the delegates to dump Black Metrosexual Abe Lincoln and nominate favorite son and True Progressive™ John Edwards as the Democratic nominee.
John Edwards trial proves Escorts are the way to go. They’re relatively inexpensive and discreet. And if you accidentally kill one, nobody will notice.
Guys, never bang a chick who plays with stuffed dinosaurs.
It’s funny how the righties like throw up John Edwards name when liberals are in the room, how about your hero now? Edwards did himself in and no liberal I know even thinks about the guy let alone talks about him. Edwards has slim to no chance of working his way back in Democratic politics, imo. I don’t know why rightwingers seem to think Edwards is at all relevant in liberal world. I suppose when they cheer David Vitter and keep him in his office after his straying along with many other Republicans involved in huge scandals welcomed right back into conservatives arms, they expect we will let Edwards get a free pass too.
And never take advice from a Koch.
He wasn’t acquitted of anything. The jury told the judge they had come to a unanimous verdict on one count and were still divided on all the others.
The judge told the jurors NOT to reveal what their unanimous verdict was and sent them back to their room to deliberate further.
@David Koch: You have your good qualities. But a lot of the time you’re just a ginormous douchebag.
Amen to that!
@David Koch: Jesus christ David.
Dude’s been tried and convicted in the Court of Public Opinion already.
@bemused: You must have no memory of the 2008 race. Edwards was the runaway hero of the liberal blogosphere, branded as the only True Progressive™ in the race. His populist rhetoric (albeit fake) was lapped up in every quarter of the blogosphere. Dailykos ran front page endorsements. They raised 40 million dollars in online donations. And when he lost, the blogosphere was openly crying.
Forum Transmitted Disease
@Mart: God knows I agree with the sentiment, but in this case it’s pretty cut and dried; the man did not commit a crime.
I don’t want to hear this “He was the only one talking about income inequality,” bullshit, either.
The Ghost of Paul Wellstone would like to whip all your asses.
John Edwards talked about whatever it served his personal interests to talk about, and if you bought it, then you ought reflect on it rather than attempting to rewrite history to fit your own failings.
Thanks in advance.
@slag: What, I’m not the one who cheated on my cancer stricken wife with some new-age groupie ten minutes after meeting her in a swank midtown Manhattan bar.
For what? More smug sanctimony? We already get quite enough of that from folks like you, thank you very much.
You’re kidding, right? He’s a douchebag and therefore a typical liberal. Logic and reality don’t enter into it.
@David Koch: Well, then, don’t act like him.
Who has forgotten that? btw, not every liberal was besotted with Edwards, as I recall.
I might be smug. I know I’m right.
The idea that John Edwards was any kind of force for keeping that kind of rhetoric alive in the Democratic party is absurd on its face, and it’s an insult to the memory of people like Wellstone, who, you know, actually were courageous politicians.
John Edwards voted like a Blue Dog and mouthed shit about Two Americas to try to go to the left in a Democratic primary.
@burnspbesq: Please tell me that the Public Integrity Section at Justice is still sstaffed by Bush’s Regenery grads.
Rough justice has been served. Edwards was exposed for the true sociopath that he is.
But the charges seemed a bit of a stretch. And prosecuting someone for violating campaign finance laws seems so quaint, because now we basically have no campaign finance laws.
Let the man slink off to enjoy the company of that alternate juror who was so smitten with him.
@wobbly: You’re behind the curve. They came back and said they were deadlocked on the other charges (which they should have said the first time they came out) and the verdict on the one they agreed to is final.
Yeah, Edwards tom-catted around. Yeah, there was a certain amount of cover-up. But from what I read, the prosecution’s star witness was the one who ended up with most of the money that was supposedly diverted from the campaign, yet nobody went after him and they gave him immunity from prosecution for his testimony.
I always found that strange. That the star prosecution witness ended up with the bulk of the money and yet he got to walk free. It was almost as if a Republican prosecutor with political ambitions was running the case…
Who could have ever guessed that there might be some taint to the case making really difficult to have any sort of faith in any result. And, believe me, I would have no faith in any result from this trial. It is too tainted.
Yeah, that’s why he came in third…
Didn’t follow it closely but the few bobbleheads I saw and pundits I read said this was a weak case.
Jesus. He had an affair. About half of your fellow citizens are “degenerate sleazeballs” at some point in their lives. Which means that America is not only sexually psychotic, it’s screamingly hypocritical.
Always had mixed emotions about this. He cheated on his dying wife. He kept running for president knowing that he had a presidency-destroying, party-destroying scandal in his recent past. Both unforgivable. And I was never a big supporter of his. I was “anyone but Lieberman” in ’04 and he was, at best, my second choice in ’08.
But his rhetoric in 2008 was dead-on balls accurate. His foretelling of the danger presented by our rapidly creeping oligarchy was prophetic. I read the statute right after he was indicted and, IMO the indictment–brought by a Bush holdover US Attorney–was, at best, tenuous.
And I just couldn’t help but notice that, even though other 2008 candidates had their own little scandals erupt, the only major 2008 presidential candidate who actually got indicted–by a Republican–was the one who dared get all up into the face of our Galtian Overlords. Funny that.
This kind of thinking is one of your weaknesses, John.
Contrary to the wishes of far right wing hysterics and a great many Balloon Juice commenters, the judicial system does not exist to render punishment for the crime of being unpopular.
The case was a legal stretch and politically motivated to boot. I hope he is aquitted on all charges. The guy is already toast in terms of his reputation, this was just piling on.
You’re not getting it. It’s not the affair that’s the issue. It’s that he ran as hard as he could for the nomination, hoping to win out over two credible candidates, knowing that he was concealing an affair that would very likely be exposed and destroy his party’s chances in the general. And all this at a time when the country was in grave danger of complete breakdown because of the other party’s disastrous management (do you remember 2008?) That’s what makes him a degenerate sleazeball, not the affair itself–although cheating on your dying spouse isn’t too cool either.
As I said, sociopath.
@Heliopause: He didn’t just have an affair. He had an affair while his wife was dying of cancer knowing that he had Rovian oppo researchers and reporters sniffing his sheets daily, knowing that revelation of the affair would devastate the party and the country if he won the election, and knowing it devastate the dying mother of his children, and his children, when, not if, it came out.
As for not making double super-sure there was redundant birth control being used under those circumstances, well that wasn’t degenerate. That was just plain fucking stupid.
I would just as soon vomit as ever look at or be reminded of John Edwards again, and hopefully won’t have to. But I believed (and continue to believe) that the “Two Americas” message was and is important. I maxed out for Edwards when he first announced – the first and maybe ONLY time I have ever done so or will do.
I hate him most for the fact that the potential of that message was squandered, because Edwards tainted it, first with his real or perceived insincerity, and then with his egregious personal behavior in the public sphere.
All that being said, this trial always came across to me as a witch hunt, and never expected a conviction on the convoluted charges. He has, however, deservedly been convicted in the court of public opinion as the World’s Biggest (smallest?) DICK.
If we had listened to our “progressive betters” and nominated Edwards, McCain would be president today, the auto industry would be dead, Bin Laden would be alive, 550,000 troops would be in Tehran, we’d be in the midst of 27% unemployment.
I can’t fucking believe you people.
“Rule of law” only when the bad guys are on the other side?
Or when the accused didn’t talk a good game about income inequality that his every real world action revealed to be rank opportunistic hypocrisy on his part?
Or when “enough is enough” just because — what? Give the guy a break, he’s suffered enough already?
The case against Edwards was NOT frivolous, as I’ve explained before — and the only reason it was as difficult for the prosecution as it was is because Fred Baron’s dead and Bunny Mellon is 101.
Heh. Good one.
Clearly you haven’t been keeping up with the legal system lately. Common sense has no place within the walls of our courts and its officers.
Also too, as others have noted, “acquitted” is a tiny bit of an overstatement under the circumstances.
Would be so nice if just ONCE before posting something, John Cole actually did 30 seconds worth of homework to get his facts straight.
But then I’d likely drop dead of shock, which would be an excessive reward for such minimal effort. : )
@David Koch: Not to mention two more GOP thugs on SCOTUS.
Edwards’ political career is a blackened crater, a place where nothing will ever grow again. His family is destroyed. His historical reputation would have to improve a good bit to be on a par with mud. But he’ll probably walk on this politically-motivated prosecution. Hope he’s happy. (Actually I don’t.)
I am tired of Edwards serving as the faux-balance point for Villagers needing to pretend the Dems are as bad as the Bush/Cheney criminal enterprise.
In re: Edwards’ douchebaggery…
I note that nobody ever addresses the douchebaggery of the new age groupie who screwed him and got knocked up while spending almost every day in his cancer-stricken wife’s presence while filming the campaign. But Hunter’s not a politician so I supposed nobody thinks it worthwhile to hold her to account for her actions.
@Constance Reader: Hunter wasn’t running for anything. Part of Edwards’ job was to avoid people like her.
I think Edwards will be the last of the Good-Ole-Boy southern Dem presidential candidates. Obama proved a Dem can win without the South, so we won’t see that type anymore. Maybe a little less tom-catting too, I hope.
On what do you base the assertion that it is politically motivated?
Hunter is not charged with a crime.
I hope they keep trying him until they convict him or he dies. The jury should be composed of all ex-wives whose husbands cheated on them and had a baby outside of marriage, and a judge who hates men.
That would be justice America style.
In other words, it’s not the affair that’s the issue, it’s the affair.
Please. Nobody would even remember John Edwards and Cole wouldn’t be calling him a “degenerate sleazeball” if he hadn’t had an affair. There are ridiculous quantities of questionable money going in and out of campaigns all the time, this was a weak case that was front-page news because genitalia were involved. Did Edwards display bad judgement? Of course, but nobody calls you a “degenerate sleazeball” because of poor judgement, they call you that because you had unauthorized sex.
This is another crazy one I’ve never understood. What difference does his wife’s health make? In fact, wouldn’t that be the most forgiveable affair, when your spouse is presumably incapable of having sex with you? Americans are weird.
@eemom: That the case was weak (see today’s non-verdict) and put forth by a Republican looking for a Dem scalp.
I know you think the case wasn’t frivolous. But if it had been strong we should have seen some convictions today. We didn’t.
You know the harpies don’t believe in their precious “rule of law”. They constantly freak out when pot laws are enforced and when people are prosecuted for disseminating classified material. “Rule of law” for thee, not for me.
And you are not exactly good marriage material.
Some were, some (most, IIRC) were career prosecutors.
You mean, a Dem can win without a southerner on the ticket.
Because he did win in the South. He flipped Virginia and North Carolina. Dems had only won Virginia once in 60 years. Kerry/Edwards lost Edwards home state of NC by 13 points. Yet a skinny black community organizer with a funny african name, who everyone laughed at, remade the electoral map.
Well, it’s true that Obama won a couple of border Southern states (both with sizable non-Southern areas in them). But he got shellacked in the deep South. When a Dem wins Georgia or Alabama or Mississippi, I’ll consider the party competitive in “the South.”
I assume you meant Regent (Regenery is a publishing company). None that I’m aware of.
You can’t convict a guy of being a lying sleaze (if it’s not under oath).
My question would be why in the hell are we always trying to throw everyone in prison? Enough already.
So what? It wasn’t known at the time that he had these…shall we say, personal issues.
I liked him. Then, when I found out what he was up to, I didn’t like him anymore.
Are you saying everyone should have known what was going on? I guess you were the only one who knew!
Don’t worry Mr. Cole, by the time the Republicans get the bit fully between their teeth, “degenerate sleazeballery” will be a jailable offense, along with atheism, homosexuality, religious heterodoxy, and possibly even free-thinking. We’ll have a whole lot more people to vituperate then.
@Heliopause: Of course, the best take on the Edwards trial was at Charlie’s blog at Esquire, which, I do believe someone provided a link to yesterday at BJ. Worth a read, as is Mr. Pierce generally.
Perhaps not frivolous, but certainly weak. And I argue that having Fred Baron and or Bunny Mellon testify woud have gone in Johnny’s favor, not against.
The thing is the “rule of law” doesn’t forbid a person from having an interest in self-preservation that extends beyond their campaign for public office. It doesn’t make clear that any money you receive from anyone for any reason while you are running for office is automatically a campaign donation subject to limits and disclosure. It’s very murky regardless of which “side” is on trial. This particular case was muddied even further by the immunity granted to Young, who is seemingly the biggest beneficiary of all this cash.
Below is just one of many comments from legal experts on the subject.
So thinking that it would not be right for Edwards to be convicted does NOT mean that we think it’s OK as long as it’s “our side” doing it. Besides which, I don’t think Johhny has a side anymore.
No shit, and I did not assert either of those things. The key issue in the case, as noted above, is what WERE the motivations for the $$ he received from Mellon and Baron. From what I know of the facts, there is a pretty convincing argument to be made that they gave him that money to further his campaign because they wanted him to win — not out of some general concern for his personal self-preservation.
I have no idea how you think the testimony of Baron or Mellon could have helped “Johnny,” but again, based on what I’ve read, those two people were both very highly invested in wanting him to be president — albeit for very different reasons.
Saint John Edwards’ disgusting pack of lies on Iraq and his boasting on how he co-wrote the invasion resolution with Liebermann.
Leave Edwards alone. His wife is dead, he’s been humiliated by his own actions and his political career is done. Enough already.
Like the Repubs are so morally superior.
Ed Shultz just reported that the Justice Department has demanded that Florida stop purging voter rolls. AMEN!!
Edwards is an asshole, but I didn’t give one way or another if he were found guilty. Just a shrug.
Emphasis mine. One of many sources for this piece of the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/us/defense-rests-in-edwards-trial.html?_r=1
Bunny Mellon and Fred Baron were long time friends and donors. Baron in particular showed more than just financial support and also provided financial support to other “projects” of Edwards besides the campaign.
Don’t get me wrong, I still hate him. But I think the rule of law here is on the side of Johnny Reid Edwards (no quotes needed as that is his legal name.)
@WeeBey: “John Edwards talked about whatever it served his personal interests to talk about”
I never understood this criticism
I doubt that the Marquis de Mittins cares in his heart of hearts if the Bishops can deny birth control coverage to an x-ray tech at St Mary’s hospital, but Im damn sure that Bishops would get their way if he was president.
Somebody once told me “FDR didn’t really care about working people, he just did stuff for them so that they would vote for him!”
Yeah?, well that’s good enough for me
Personally I’m tired of everyone piling on Edwards. He was a weak human being and he fucked up. I hated the fact that morans would use the excuse of his affair to denigrate the ‘Two America’s” idea. I hated the fact he let me down when he seemed to be the only one of the Presidential candidates to get it.
But let’s remember the Republicans have diaper boy and Ensign buying off his cuckold; Newt Gingerich divorcing his wife while she’s in the hospital; and not to mention John McCain cheating on his first wife and leaving her because she was disabled.
And let’s not forget the Clenis. He had multiple affairs, including one, literally, in the Oval Office. Not to mention the one REVEALED DURING HIS CAMPAIGN.
So lets remember there are a lot of bigger scumbags in office today and many of them are Democrats. And if you think Clinton is ok but Edwards is a scumbag then you are a hypocrite and an asshole.If you think both are worthless lying scumbags, and all of the rest mentioned above also, then I give you props for being consistent.
Let the guy alone. He failed and he knows he failed. Seems like that should be enough.
John Edwards never did anything that helped poor people.
Bullet, dodged. That’s mostly what affects me as a registered Democrat.
As to his personal failures, let he who is w/o sin etc. For his own sake I hope he can find his way out of limelight with enough money to support his children a little. For our sake I hope he never comes back to politics.
Well, there was the organization he created … which collapsed almost as soon as his presidential bid was over.
Hmmm … the correlation between people who were impressed by Edwards’ “two Americas” speechifying and those who really dislike Obama right now is illuminating. Of what, I’m not entirely sure.
@Mart: Um, because they can afford the best criminal defense counsel? That’s one reason, anyway. That’s the power of money for ya.