Jurors to Resume Deliberations in John Edwards Trial
By Jonathan Serrie
Jurors are scheduled to resume deliberations this morning in the trial of John Edwards.
The panel recessed for the weekend after spending much of Friday reviewing several prosecution exhibits.
The items included several checks from Edwards' supporter Rachel "Bunny" Mellon to interior decorator Bryan Huffman, that were co-signed and deposited by the wife of former Edwards campaign aide Andrew Young.
Jurors also requested an August 2008 voicemail
message in which Edwards tells Andrew Young about an upcoming meeting with Mellon.
According to the transcript, Edwards says, "Immediately after lunch, she and I will break out into a private session for a couple of hours. That's when we'll do our work, including the work about you, and makin' sure you're, uh, protected and included…"
And the jury asked to review a note Mellon wrote Andrew Young in April 2007 after Edwards took heat in the media for spending $400 on a haircut.
In the note, Mellon writes, "…from now on, all haircuts, etc., that are necessary and important for his campaign - please send the bills to me - ℅ Alex Forger in New York. It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions."
Forger is Mellon's estate lawyer, who testified earlier that, when he discovered Mellon's secret payments to the Youngs, Edwards' former lawyer Wade Smith told him the candidate knew the money was for his benefit (a statement Smith denied making).
The jury requested a written transcript of Forger's testimony. But Judge Catherine Eagles denied the request, telling jurors to rely on their own memories of what Forger had said.
"Those little notes really reflect what Bunny Mellon was thinking at the time she sent the money," said Kieran Shanahan, a former federal prosecutor watching the trial. "And the judge has instructed that the donor, Mrs. Mellon's intent when she gave the money, is something they must consider in determining whether these are, in fact, campaign contributions that must be reported."
However, Shanahan cautioned it's too early to draw conclusions that the jury is leaning towards the prosecution. He said the evidence the jury requested may be an indication the panel is reviewing all the facts of the case with due diligence.