John Edwards Verdict: Begs A Bigger QuestionPosted: May 30, 2012
(Update 5/31/2012: Edwards Jury not guilty on Count 3 (illegal campaign contribution from Ms. Mellon) and hung on remaining 5 counts. Prosecution may re-try the case, I wouldn’t.)
It’s been 8 days of deliberation in the John Edwards illegal contributions case and still no verdict.
Yes, maybe the jury is deadlocked? Confused by the exhibits or the law? Not compelled to decide one way or the other? Celebrity-struck by the former Senator of North Carolina and 2008 US Democratic Presidential contender? Or, maybe, we need to ask the question.
In these struggling economic times, should we, the taxpayers, be using our criminal justice system and prosecutorial resources to go after an unfaithful politician who may have misreported $925,000 in campaign contributions to hide away his mistress? Yes, a crime is a crime and we shouldn’t practice selective prosecution but, these days require that our prosecutions be judicious. No doubt, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars have been spent so far in the prosecution and 4 week trial of Edwards.
Maybe, our monies are better spent prosecuting human traffickers, drug smugglers or maybe, even a fraudulent mortgage lender.
And, maybe, that’s why the Edwards jury is in no hurry to reach a verdict. Yes, they could be deadlocked–some believe Edwards is guilty, probably on the Bunny Mellon charges counts 2 and 3 (I think the Edwards note to Mellon may do him in)— while others may be wondering whether it’s a crime worthy of prison time. The jurors may even be a bit distracted, one “flirting” with Edwards and others color coordinating their clothing as reported by cnn.com. Edwards faces up to 30 years, 5 years for each count including allegations of illegal contributions and false statements (reporting) on campaign finance reporting documents.
Jurors make decisions based on the law and their emotions. Apparently, neither side lit the fire under enough jurors feet. Can jurors get excited about “misreporting” a “contribution” or “contributions” in excess of campaign limits with all that is happening in the world outside the courtroom?
I suspect that if the monies had been used for an illegal activity like drugs, sex with minors or even improperly awarding government contracts, rather than on a mistress, we wouldn’t be waiting on a verdict.
Gift or campaign contribution? What did John Edwards know? Deliberations continue.
Simply my opinion, what say you?