INSIDER BLOG: John Edwards Trial Jury on 4th Day of Deliberations
By Jonathan Serrie
The jury in the trial of John Edwards begins its fourth day of deliberations.
Just before recessing last night, the panel requested notes from Alex Forger. Forger is the estate lawyer for Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, a 101-year-old heiress who provided much of the money allegedly used to hide Edwards' pregnant mistress during his 2008 run for the White House.
The requested items
include an October 2006 letter in which Forger writes Mellon about a meeting he had with Edwards to discuss a large gift she had pledged to the politician's anti-poverty Center for Promise and Opportunity.
Forger writes, "He said that he would like to consider how to allocate the million -- and has now said he would like $650,000 to go to his Center now and hold off sending the balance to a later date when he decides where he would like it directed."
In another letter, dated July 27, 2006, Forger writes to Edwards' campaign aide Andrew Young. In that letter, Forger mention's that he is chairman of The Interfaith Alliance, a Washington, DC based advocacy group that promotes religious freedom.
Forger writes, "I thought the Senator might be interested in the work we are doing for election purposes."
It's unclear whether jurors are interested in specific references within these letters, or just trying to establish a general sense of Mellon's personal and financial relationship with Edwards. But so far, the evidence requested by the jury relates to Mellon and the trail of the so-called "Bunny money."
Prosecutors hope to prove that the funds in question were intended to protect Edwards' run for president, and therefore represent excessive, and unreported, campaign donations. The defense is trying to prove the money was simply intended to hide details of Edwards' affair from his wife Elizabeth -- ultimately protecting a man who had committed many sins, but no crimes.