INSIDER BLOG: Prosecutors Won't Call Mistress to Testify in John Edwards Trial
By Jonathan Serrie
Today, federal prosecutors plan to rest their case against John Edwards. However, the former presidential candidate's mistress, Rielle Hunter, is not listed among their final witnesses.
Instead, the government expects to conclude with testimony from three federal agents who investigated Edwards.
"If the prosecution feels its case is made, (Hunter) is a question mark for them and they probably would not want to call her," said Steven Friedland, a law professor at Elon University. "On the other hand, they
know that she'll be called by the defense. And if (prosecutors) do not call her, the jury may think they're covering something up."
Some of Edwards' closest associates were suspicious of Hunter and feared what she might say publicly, according to testimony.
Yesterday, Edwards' former campaign spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri described a 2007 confrontation at an Iowa hotel, in which the candidate's wife Elizabeth questioned wealthy benefactors Fred and Lisa Blue Baron about why they had taken Hunter on a shopping trip and flown her on private jets.
"Lisa was saying that you've got to hold your friends close and your enemies closer," Palmieri recalled. "Rielle was a loose cannon and we just didn't know what she would say to the press."
During cross-examination, Edwards' lawyers asked Palmieri about the motivation behind Mrs. Edwards' questions.
"Her mindset to me was she didn't think that John was going to get the nomination and she just wanted to get out of the campaign… keep these details private and keep her family intact," Palmieri said.
The defense is trying to portray the botched cover-up of Mr. Edwards' affair as an attempt to protect his family, not his political aspirations.
Palmieri cried openly in court, as she recalled a conversation with Mrs. Edwards, just days before she died from breast cancer.
"She was concerned that when she died, there would not be a man around that loved her," Palmieri said.
Palmieri said she promised to be there for Mrs. Edwards. But her friend continued to hold on to her feeling of loss.
During this testimony, Mr. Edwards buried his head in his hands. His daughter Cate Upham, who has attended most of the trial, was not in the courtroom at the time.