Jonathan Serrie's Blog: Defense Begins Presenting Case in John Edwards Trial
Today, John Edwards' lawyers will call their first witnesses to the stand. Their list includes political pollster Harrison Hickman, former Federal Election Commission Chairman Scott Thomas and former Edwards lawyer Wade Smith.
On Friday, Judge Catherine Eagles denied a motion by Edwards' lawyers to dismiss corruption charges against the former presidential candidate.
Edwards' lead attorney Abbe Lowell argued that the prosecution, while pointing out his clients' moral transgressions, had failed to prove he committed any crimes.
"No one is going to deny that Mr. Edwards lied and lied and lied and lied," Lowell said. "Then the government is going to say, 'See, he lied.' And I'll say, 'Yes, he lied.'"
Prosecutors are trying to prove Edwards used unreported campaign contributions to hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 bid for president with the intent of protecting his political career.
The defense claims the funds in question were private gifts from friends intended to protect Edwards' cancer-stricken wife from finding out about his extramarital affair.
"Mr. Edwards could have expenses for a baby if he had a campaign or if he didn't have a campaign," Lowell argued. "Mr. Edwards would hide an affair if he was or wasn't a candidate."
Lead prosecutor David Harbach argued, "This is an experienced politician. He just didn't drop out of the sky in '07 and into a world of campaign finance he knew nothing about."
Judge Eagles decided the prosecution had presented enough evidence to merit consideration by a jury. And so the trial resumes today.
Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, is on the list of defense witnesses. But that's no guarantee she'll be called to testify.
Hunter had also been on the prosecution's witness list, but never took the stand.