Judge Admonishes John Edwards Trial Jurors
The jury in the John Edwards trial is scheduled to begin its eighth day of deliberations 15 minutes earlier and recess 15 minutes later than on previous days.
Judge Catherine Eagles has added an extra half hour to deliberations today and tomorrow in order to allow jurors to leave early Friday to attend high school graduations and honor other family commitments.
"We'll worry about next week later," Eagles said.
With jurors expressing concern about long-term scheduling conflicts, rather than hinting at an imminent verdict, some legal experts wonder if the jury may be divided over whether Edwards is guilty of violating federal campaign finance laws. But others say it's still too early to tell.
"We shouldn't worry about the jury right now," said Steve Friedland, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches law at Elon University. "A jury is like a fish in the ocean. We don't know which way they're swimming. They could be reaching a verdict shortly."
Yesterday, the judge gave jurors a stern reminder of the ground rules guiding their discussions.
"All of your deliberations are to take place in the jury room and only when all 12 of you are present," Judge Eagles said. "It is the result of your common judgment and wisdom. You act together."
It remains unclear whether a specific incident had prompted the judge's renewed instructions, or whether she was merely trying to keep jurors on track as the deliberations plodded on. But Eagles delivered her admonishment a couple hours after she met privately with lawyers on both sides to discuss an undisclosed "juror issue."
Prof. Friedland said, "The judge is very aware that this trial, which has taken a long time, is a very important one, does not want to lose this jury and wants to keep the jury focused and coming to a resolution."