Johnny Reid Edwards was found not guilty on one of the six corruption charges he faced while the judge declared a mistrial on the five other charges with the jury deadlocked. Edwards, a lawyer from North Carolina, who with his good physical appearance and an stirring personal record as the son of a mill worker, saw an extraordinary political climb as he ran for the 2008 presidential race.
When Edwards came out of the courthouse this Thursday with his daughter and parents by his side, he sounded remorseful rather than victorious. He admitted that he had sinned.
“I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong,” he said, according to a report in the New York Times. “I am responsible. I don’t have to go any further than the mirror. It’s me and me alone.” But, he insisted that he did not use campaign money to conceal those sins.
Even though Edwards was careful not to mention Rielle Hunter, the videographer he had an affair with at the time of his 2008 presidential run, yet he became emotional at the mention of the child she bore with him. “My precious Quinn, who I lov more than any of you could ever imagine,” he said.
Edwards also hinted at his possibility of returning to politics. He talked about the signature issue of his failed 2008 campaign and poverty. He said, “I don’t think God is through with me.”
It is pertinent to mention here that Edwards lost in the court of public opinion. However, on Thursday a panel of adjudicators, consisting generally of working North Carolinians, vindicated him as they could not reach a judgment on the 5 charges of campaign money fraud and conspiracy.
The court acquitted Edwards on one charge that was based on a $200,000 donated by the heiress Rachel Mellon in January 2008, the month he dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president. The judgment and mistrial is being seen as a big setback for the Justice Department’s public integrity section; the watchdog agency that has struggled to rebuild itself.
The judgment ended one of the most prolific and shocking episodes in the history of presidential campaigning, unless the Justice Department decides to retry Mr. Edwards. The Justice Department has given no indication as to whether it would retry Edwards.