John Edwards was found not guilty on one of six counts in his campaign finance fraud trial today, with the jury hopelessly deadlocked on the remaining charges.
Judge Catherine Eagles declared a mistrial on the five counts for which the jury couldn’t reach a verdict. He can therefore be retried, but it’s unlikely he will be.
Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate, was accused of soliciting nearly $1 million from donors to cover up his affair and love child with Rielle Hunter.
He was found unanimously not guilty on Count 3 of the six-part indictment.
That count pertained only to whether Edwards illegally received hundreds of thousands of dollars from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon to cover up the affair.
Just hours ago, the foreman announced that the jury was deadlocked on five of the six counts, but Eagles ordered them to go back to deliberating.
The jury came back less than an hour later and declared itself hung, or deadlocked with no possibility of changing that fact, on the five counts.
Following the verdict, the two-time presidential hopeful hugged attorney Abbe Lowell, his daughter Cate Edwards, 30, and his two elderly parents.
The jury began deliberating May 18 in the case, which took on an air of a steamy soap opera as much as a debate over intricacies of campaign finance law.
The government spent three weeks building its thin case, much of it tethered to the testimony of Andrew Young, once Edwards’ most loyal aide.
Edwards’ defense – that he lied to keep the affair a secret from his terminally ill wife, not to advance his career – was tough to disprove, however.
He’s a miserable human being, but that doesn’t mean he acted illegally.