Department of Justice Moves to Dismiss All Remaining Charges Against Chadbourne Client Former Senator John Edwards
June 14, 2012
The Department of Justice moved to dismiss all of the charges remaining against Chadbourne client former Senator John Edwards after the jury returned its verdict two weeks ago.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles in Greensboro, N.C., signed the order on June 13, ending the case.
Senator Edwards had been found not guilty on May 31 on one of six counts in his federal campaign finance trial in Greensboro. The jury was unable to come to a verdict on the other five charges and Judge Eagles declared a mistrial on those charges. Media reports indicated that a large majority of the 12 jurors favored acquittal on all counts.
The defense was led by Chadbourne partner and head of the White Collar Defense, Regulatory Investigations and Litigation Group Abbe D. Lowell. Christopher Man, Michael Pusateri and Michelle Chasse from the Washington, D.C. office worked on the case with Mr. Lowell.
"We are grateful that the Justice Department, after hearing from the jury, has dismissed the remaining charges in this case. As we stated in our motions and arguments in court, the novel theory of campaign law violations charged by the Justice Department is not a crime. It should be addressed, if at all, by the Federal Election Commission, which our evidence showed seems to have agreed with our views on the law," said Mr. Lowell.
"While John has repeatedly admitted to his sins, he has also consistently asserted, as we demonstrated at the trial, that he did not violate any campaign law nor even imagined that any campaign laws could apply. We are confident that the outcome of any new trial would have been the same. We are very glad that, after living under this cloud for over three years, John and his family can have their lives back and enjoy the peace they deserve," Mr. Lowell added.
Senator Edwards faced six felony charges alleging violations of federal campaign laws arising from funds paid by his friends Rachel Mellon and Fred Baron to help hide his extramarital affair in part while he was running for President in 2007 and 2008. The prosecution contended that payment of such funds by third parties for that purpose amounted to excessive campaign contributions. The Edwards defense team argued that he was unaware of the payments that were arranged by a former campaign aide, that the payments were not contributions in any event, and that neither he nor any candidate would have believed such payments were even covered by federal campaign law.
The trial began April 23. The government put on almost three weeks of evidence, calling 24 witnesses. The defense called only five witnesses in two-and-a-half days. The jury deliberated for nine days, starting on May 18 with the verdict coming on May 31.