John Edwards’ lawyers begin presenting defense

Updated
By The Cycle Staff
Former U.S. Senator John Edwards walks with his father Wallace Edwards to the federal courthouse in Greensboro, May 14, 2012.
Former U.S. Senator John Edwards walks with his father Wallace Edwards to the federal courthouse in Greensboro, May 14, 2012.
Reuters

by msnbc staff and wire reports

A financial officer for former Senator John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign said on Monday that she did not believe the $1 million given to conceal his pregnant mistress were campaign contributions so she did not report them. 

Lora Haggard, the campaign’s chief financial officer, said even after Edwards was indicted on campaign finance charges in June 2011, she did not amend the campaign’s financial reports to include the money. 

”I did not believe them to be contributions to the campaign,” Haggard said. “They were not contributions to the campaign to urge the public to vote for Mr. Edwards.” 

Haggard was the first witness called by Edwards’ defense as it began rebutting government charges against the one-time heir apparent to the Democratic party.

  

 

Lawyers for former senator and presidential candidate argued last Friday that federal prosecutors failed to make the case, and requested to have the case thrown for a lack of evidence. While dismissal was a long shot, the judge’s decision “highlights the ever increasing peril Edwards faces and previews what’s to come,” says attorney and trial watcher Hampton Dellinger on msnbc.com.

“Ironically, if Edwards the defendant had known for sure that his own case would go all the way to the jury, I’m not sure he would have rejected whatever the government’s best plea deal was,” adds Dellinger.

Defense attorneys have said they expect to take about a week to present their case. Their witness list includes 65 potential witnesses, with Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter, and his eldest daughter, Cate Edwards, among those who could be called to testify.

Over at TalkingPointsMemo, Ryan J. Reilly takes a look at testimony so far and highlights the “5 best pieces of evidence” that Edwards is “more unscrupulous than many might have previously thought.”

 

 

John Edwards' lawyers begin presenting defense

Updated