May 16, 2012

"John Edwards' defense team rests case in his corruption trial without calling him to the stand."

So the honey-tongued politician chooses not to speak for himself. Wisely, I'm sure.

The quote is from a CNN "breaking news" email.

23 comments:

Curious George said...

There goes a golden opportunity to channel his wife who forgives him for all he has done.

Expat(ish) said...

We see his pix a lot on the local news - he is very changed looking. Not for the better.

-XC

edutcher said...

They had no problem putting his daughter on the stand.

The guy is slime; no, he's the kind that gives slime a bad name.

PWS said...

Imagine what those conversations were like between Edwards and his lawyers. Every defendant usually wants to tell their story, to testify. That urge is probably even stronger in Edwards who has convinced many people of many things with his own voice and words. Nevertheless, the cross examination would have opened areas where even he must have realized he could not talk his way out.

Roger J. said...

NSFW warning: so "honey tongued." does that apply to his court room skills or his bedroom skills. Suppose we would have to ask Reille

BarrySanders20 said...

I don't think they had the daughter testify. They got the headline that she was going to testify that John loved his wife. That's what they wanted. It's rather pathetic, but so is Edwards.

So he did the channelling of himself through his daughter, though both were actually there. Better to channel that rather than face cross examination and have the farce all blown to hell.

Sorry John, when you love yourself totally and completely, there's no room for loving anybody else.

Mitchell said...

There's that standard jury instruction about how you can't draw a negative inference when a criminal defendant chooses not to testify. Always good for a laugh.

Roger J. said...

The cynic in me thinks the daughter didnt fall very far from the elizabeth and john tree--I am sure we will see her as a commenter on MSNBC when the dust settles--But, as I said, I am a cynic.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...

.

If I were on the jury, the only thing that would get me to vote not guilty would be his confession, as every word he says is a lie.

traditionalguy said...

Johnny is above it all. In his world:

The campaign laws do not apply to him.

His campaign aids child is not his concern.

Bunny Mellon only gives money for love.

The trashy National Inquirer cannot be trusted.

Democrats care about the poor.

That is what a honey tongue and a good hair cut will do for a man in the age of media anointed celebrity.

Thorley Winston said...

I’ve seen several headlines that his eldest daughter was supposed to testify but nothing confirming that she actually did or what was the substance of her testimony. The optics of having your daughter testify (after she earlier left the courtroom in tears while they discussed how you cheated on her mother) while refusing to take the stand in your own defense aren’t good.

Roman said...

The biggest offence in this pathetic story, in my opinion, is the dinosaur media silence from the start, until forced by the National Enquirer.

paminwi said...

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Lie to get what you want.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/14/records-cate-edwards-claimed-she-wasnt-a-u-s-citizen-to-get-out-of-jury-duty/

deborah said...

"The biggest offence in this pathetic story, in my opinion, is the dinosaur media silence from the start, until forced by the National Enquirer."

Mickey Kaus is probably kicking himself for not running with the story. And the Juicebox Mafia sits pretty.

Thorley Winston said...

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Lie to get what you want.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/05/14/records-cate-edwards-claimed-she-wasnt-a-u-s-citizen-to-get-out-of-jury-duty/


Why didn’t the Daily Caller include the document that supposedly shows that Cate Edwards claimed that she wasn’t a “citizen of the United States”? Given that the article talks about being a “citizen of North Carolina” and being a “citizen of Orange County,” I’m not sure that I’d have much faith in either the Orange County clerk’s office or the Daily Caller in keeping accurate records.

Beldar said...

The local newspaper, the Greensboro, N.C., News & Record, reports that neither John Edwards, daughter Cate, nor mistress/baby-momma Rielle were called as defense witnesses.

The local paper calls this "a sign of confidence after presenting little more than two days of testimony and evidence" in Edwards' defense. That's certainly one possible interpretation, but as a courtroom lawyer who's tried dozens of cases over the past 30 years, my interpretation is that the defense team was convinced that the likely downsides from any of these witnesses testifying significantly outweighed any possible upside. As far as Edwards himself, some of the potential downsides are obvious -- he'd be impeached mercilessly on all the lies his own lawyers have already necessarily admitted to -- but it's also likely that to avoid admitting important points on cross-examination, Edwards would have had to fabricate additional lies, which in turn (a) would have become obvious and (b) could have put his defense lawyers' licenses at risk (for knowingly suborning perjury). The defense team must also have concluded that even daughter Cate's testimony would have contained more potential pitfalls than could be justified by whatever sympathy they might hope to generate for Edwards through her testimony; either she has some critical or unhelpful information that would have come out on the stand, or they've concluded she makes a better "silent" than "speaking" witness through her appearance and demeanor as a mere observer, or they've concluded that despite her best efforts, it's effectively impossible for anyone, even Cate, to paint a picture of Edwards that isn't ugly.

Beldar said...

Sorry, forgot the link.

paminwi said...

Thorley: I can understand you impugning the Daily Caller if you are a liberal. But.. why in the world would you impugn some poor old government workers in a county you know nothing about? Or.. do you know something i don;t about the county where this happened?

Beldar said...

Re the Daily Caller's suggestion that Cate Edwards may have been untruthful in getting out of unrelated jury duty in 2011: The chances that the prosecution would have been allowed to impeach her on credibility with that argument -- that the prosecutors would have risked the possible backlash from doing that, or that the judge would have let them impeach her on a mere unproved allegation for something that's probably not more than an unrelated misdemeanor anyway -- are very, very small. This would be a classic example of improper attempted impeachment through unrelated prior bad acts, and most judges keep a very tight rein on such attacks. I don't think it's likely that that had anything to do with their decision not to call her as a witness.

Roger J. said...

Beldar: I do appreciate your analyses--if Greta von Sustern loses her job, perhaps there is a career in TV for you :)

dreams said...

I don't like Edwards but like Commentary Contentions and NRO I don't like this prosecution either. If he is found guilty, it will be overturn by the Appeals Court.

john said...

usHe brought it all on himself, and he needs to get punished. For something.

This case needs to get tried for the simple reasons that he can't be allowed to make a mockery of campaign laws, and because not trying him would be an embarrassment for the FEC and especially for the Dems. No matter how how dubious the charges and how novel a legal theory it is.

As dreams hopes, it should get overturned. Will anyone support John Edwards on his appeal?

(Of course, the Fed's ace in the hole is 18USC1001 (the Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby trap).

Beldar said...

@ Roger J: Thanks for the encouragement.

@ those expressing skepticism about the government's case:

I started out pretty skeptical of this prosecution on more or less the grounds that the NRO editors argued. But I'm now inclined to think that the only interesting philosophical question is whether you think we ought to have a statute that puts dollar-amount limitations on campaign contributions.

I do strongly favor that contributions be required to be disclosed and reported, however. If Bunny and Dead Fred were willing to confess to the world that they were paying hush money on the campaign's behalf, I think that behavior doesn't need to be criminalized just on account of the size of the payoffs (compared to the per-person contribution limits). The disclosure requirement, if actually enforced, would be adequate to deter the bad deeds in my opinion.

But these folks were definitely conspiring to conceal big payments that were being made to enable the political fraud John Edwards was busily trying to commit on the American public. Edwards knew of the payments; and his participation in the cover-up reveals his guilty mind, the specific criminal intent to violate the law. (Again, I don't dispute that he was also trying to perpetrate a cover-up to get away with infidelity to his dying wife in addition to violations of the federal campaign finance laws, but the fact that he had multiple ugly purposes doesn't detract from the legally significant purpose.)

I also believe that the term "contributions" ought be defined very broadly to include anything of value that's given to advance or support a campaign (even if that's not its sole purpose). But I think that's what the existing law says, and that exactly how Judge Eagles is going to charge (instruct) the jury. She quite properly, IMHO, excluded the defense legal expert witness who was going to come to court to take over her (Judge Eagles') role of instructing the jury as to the law, and her comment at the time -- to the effect that she doesn't think the statute is that complicated -- suggests to me that she's likely to give something either neutral or closer to the instructions and jury charge that the prosecution are seeking.

If that happens -- if she gives anything less than the defense-oriented charge, which restricts the definition of "contribution" only to those things which were exclusively intended to benefit the campaign -- I think Johnny Reid may be in serious, serious trouble, both with this jury and on appeal.

I think the odds are quite good that he's gonna be sorry he didn't take the proffered pre-trial plea bargain (which reportedly would have required six months very light jail time), because he's gonna end up doing non-trivial time in a non-country-club environment.