John Edwards Leaves Fate in Jury’s Hands
On Thursday, the jury selection will start for the criminal trial of former Senator John Edwards in a courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina. Edwards, as a young lawyer practicing personal injury law in North Carolina earned a reputation of declining multi-million dollar settlements to bet on the jury awarding his clients even more money when the trial ended.
Now the ex-Senator and two-time presidential candidate for the Democratic Party is taking the biggest legal gamble of his life – hoping a jury will exonerate him of alleged violations for campaign finances so he will not have to go to prison.
The jury selection in Greensboro will pull from a pool of jurists that includes the town of Robbins where he was raised as well as many other small communities. The judge presiding over the trial, Catherine Eagles was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 and she expects the trial to take at least six weeks.
Edwards was indicted last year by a grand jury on six misdemeanor and felony charges related to close to $1 million in funds that were secretly provided by wealthy donors of his campaign that helped hide his mistress, who was pregnant, while he sought the nomination for the White House in 2008. If found guilty Edwards could receive up to 30 years behind bars and be fined as much as $1.5 million.
Before being indicted, Edwards declined a possible plea agreement with prosecutors that would have meant as little as six months behind bars and not lose his license to practice law. Edwards lives with his two youngest children in Chapel Hill, while his oldest daughter, a lawyer, lives with her new husband.