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John Edwards acquittal leaves many stunned

Jennifer Dimaano

Peter Smith

Prosecutors fail at providing the right amount of evidence

Nine days of deliberation for the John Edwards corruption trial led to an acquittal by the jury due to the lack of evidence provided by prosecutors. The former favored Democratic presidential candidate was on trial for allegedly using campaign money to cover up his affair.

Many jurors appeared on talk shows and opened up about their experience during the nine-day deliberation. Many found Edward’s guilty on some of the six charges, but were left split. Juror, Ladonna Foster, told the Today Show, “I think he definitely had some knowledge of where the money was going…The evidence wasn’t there.”

The jurors seemed to only agree on not finding Edwards guilty on the one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions; juror Jonathan Nunn thought the money by the two donors were “personal gifts, not campaign donations.”

On the rest of the other five charges, the jurors were in deadlock. Nunn told ABC’s Good Morning America, “Everybody’s got their own beliefs based off of what they saw…they stood their ground. They stood by their decision and I respect that.”

“The credibility of the witness was something that was of upmost importance to us…that was probably the key part of the miss for the prosecution,” remarked David Recchion.

During their Morning Show appearance jurors explained they had trouble believing the prosecutors “top witness” Andrew Young.

Melanie Sloan, executive director for the campaign finance watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said, “As noted by nearly every campaign finance lawyer who considered the matter, this was a lousy case…all the salacious details prosecutors offered up to prove that Edwards is, indeed, despicable, were not enough to persuade the jury to convict him.”

In order to convict Edwards, prosecutors needed to present viable evidence that Edwards knew about the secret payments, which he denied. Prosecutors were unable to produce any witnesses; Andrew Young testified that he met with campaign finance lawyers who assured Young the money was legal.

Former federal prosecutor, Kieran Shanahan, attended the trial. Shanahan thought the prosecutors did what they could but ultimately was a weak case. “They got their best witnesses, their best evidence and the judge ruled in their favor on all major evidentiary issues…in the end, the jury just didn’t believe them.

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