Campaigns/Elections

John Edwards Is Still a Scumbag but Not, So Far, a Felon

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After deliberating for nine days, the jurors in John Edwards' campaign finance trial have acquitted him of one charge while deadlocking on five others. The judge declared a mistrial on the latter counts.

The jury found the former North Carolina senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee not guilty of receiving several hundred thousand dollars in illegal campaign contributions from a wealthy donor. Edwards used the money to hide his extramarital affair and the baby that resulted from it. Federal prosecutors argued that the money qualified as campaign contributions because concealing the affair was important to Edwards' campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He argued that covering his mistress's living expenses was a personal expenditure aimed at deceiving his wife, who was dying from cancer at the time. Evidently the jury favored the latter interpretation; if so, it is hard to see why it deadlocked on the other counts, since the government's whole case hinged on its novel reading of campaign finance law, which made a felony out of Edwards' efforts to impersonate a decent human being. The Justice Department, whose legal theory has been rejected not only by former chairmen of the Federal Election Commission but also (apparently) by the agency's current staff, should give up now, but it probably won't.

Previous coverage of the case here. National Review columnist Mark Steyn recently explained why it is morally obligatory to condemn both Edwards and his prosecutors.

NEXT: Nick Gillespie on NBC Nightly News tonight, 6:30 p.m.

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  1. Dude really tried his damndest to get out of fucking Elizabeth.

    1. And, really, was it really that hard to slip on a condom during the fuck that resulted in the child?

  2. a personal expenditure aimed at deceiving his wife, who was dying from cancer at the time. Evidently the jury favored the latter interpretation;

    Even though, according to her autobiography, she knew all about it at the time.

    1. you would think a jury would be especially harsh on someone fucking around on a terminally ill spouse, not forgiving of it. This is the same guy who kept invoking his dead son while running for the Senate.

      1. This assumes that juries are inherently too emotional to deal with abstract concepts and complex ideas.

        Meanwhile, in the First Circuit, judges are showing that they napped off during high-school biology.

      2. He was a scumbag when he was a trial lawyer, and played the lead role in scuttling a NC fund for kids with cerebral palsy (didn’t want to block off his junk science malpractice suits.)

      3. Take two minutes just to find out the secret to make money online in 2 simple steps. Just give it a try and you will believe me…that its really true,
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  3. The Justice Department, whose legal theory has been rejected not only by former chairmen of the Federal Election Commission but also (apparently) by the agency’s current staff, should give up now, but it probably won’t.

    And i hope they don’t. I differ from my fellow Reasonoids on this issue. Edwards was trying to impersonate a decent human being so he could get elected. The personal becomes the public in this case.

    Live by the campaign finance, die by it.

    I say again, Mr. Edwards should do some time for this. A year, six months, 1000 hours of community service… scratch that last one, being a politician could be considered ‘community service’ and we certainly don’t need any of that from Edwards…

    Either way, the only way I forgive these guys is if they renounce their support of all campaign finance reform and spend the rest of the public life fighting to have them overturned.

    1. Edwards was trying to impersonate a decent human being so he could get elected.

      So I’m tempted by your campaign to make the very act of being a national politician (especially a winning one) illegal, but then what would we do?

      1. but then what would we do?

        Bask in our Somali-like freedom?

  4. Correction: Edwards, is not, so far, a convicted felon.

    He was a Senator and remains a lawyer, it’s even money there’s a felony somewhere in his past.

    1. Bingo, Mickey. All a trial can tell us is whether he is a convicted felon, not whether he committed any felonies.

  5. Mark Steyn recently explained why it is morally obligatory to condemn both Edwards and his prosecutors.

    The Steyn article, like most things he writes, is worth a read.

    1. It really is an excellent read. I like the conclusion:

      That is, a gentleman should not lie for political advantage about the paternity of his child. When he does so, it is a poor reflection on him and on those who colluded with him ? the Democratic party and the media. What it is not is a crime. As bad as Edwards’s behavior is, the Justice Department’s is worse. The urge to ensnare in legalisms every aspect of human existence ? including John Edwards’s rutting ? will consume American liberty.

      1. bad as Edwards’s behavior is, the Justice Department’s is worse. The urge to ensnare in legalisms every aspect of human existence ? including John Edwards’s rutting ? will consume American liberty.

        Except the implicit point that libertarians warned the campaign financers of exactly this problem, and they told us to go pound sand.

        It’s not my fault it came true, it’s just extra-awesome that a campaign financer is being burned at the stake for being a witch.

        Revenge is a dish best served delicious!

        1. It is hard to avoid hoping that liberals get caught by laws they promote, isn’t it? I was also hoping he’d get convicted, as questionable as the laws may be.

        2. Except that that revenge would set a precedent for the rest of us.

          Similar to, say, Bill Clinton signing various discovery rules regarding sexual harassment and history.

  6. Really, it’s amazing that somehow, someway, being a scumbag is not a crime already. Or does that require an injudicious tweet or two and a webcam?

    1. What was that? I’m busy trying to make sure I don’t drop the soap so I didn’t quite catch that.

    2. I have a buddy in England who had her neighbor prosecuted for being ‘antisocial’. When I pressed her about it I discovered that the guy is just an asshole.

  7. OT: But is double/simultaneous penetration gay?

    I mean, even a little? It’s got to come close with all that penis-to-penis rubbing.

    1. I am trying not to imagine why you are even asking this question.

    2. I have a question. Is it legal to marry your cousin in Texas? Is 9 or 10 the age of consent there? OK, I had two questions…

  8. Even if he doesn’t end up in the pound-me-in-the-ass prison, you’d have to say that Edwards has already paid a price for his sleazery.

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