The judge declared a mistrial in the John Edwards trial after jurors failed to reach a verdict on five out of six charges against the fallen US political star.
Edwards was found not guilty of one count of using campaign donations to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. A mistrial was declared on the five remaining counts.
The disgraced politician saw his stellar career collapse after he fathered a child with videographer Rielle Hunter in 2007 and then lied about their affair to his cancer-stricken wife,Elizabeth,and the public.
Outside court in Greensboro,North Carolina,a relieved Edwards,who was John Kerry’s vice presidential running mate in 2004,said he only had himself to blame for his spectacular fall from grace but insisted he had done nothing criminal.
“While I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing anything illegal,I did an awful,awful lot that was wrong and there is no one else responsible for my sins,” he said.
Choking up as he spoke,Edwards gave a very public acceptance of four-year-old Frances Quinn,the daughter whose paternity he once denied.
After thanking the rest of his family for their support,he said: “And then,finally,my precious Quinn who I love more than any of you could ever imagine,and I am so close to and so,so grateful for.”
Several seconds passed before he could continue.
“I don’t think God’s through with me,” he said. “I really believe he thinks there’s still some good things I can do.”
The 58-year-old former North Carolina senator had faced up to 30 years in prison and USD 1.5 million in fines if convicted of intentionally using nearly USD 1 million from two wealthy donors to hide his affair.
It was not immediately clear if prosecutors would pursue a retrial.
The mistrial ruling capped a confusing and dramatic day in Greensboro as jurors struggled to convince Judge Catherine Eagles that they were unable to reach a verdict on most of the charges.
The judge appeared surprised when the foreman originally announced that a verdict had only been reached on one count,concerning the alleged illegal use of a 2008 donation from banking heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon,now 101.
Edwards faced another count of misusing a donation from Mellon in 2007 as well as two similar counts of misusing money given by wealthy Texas lawyer Fred Baron,who died in 2008.
A fifth charge alleged conspiracy between Edwards and his one-time aide Andrew Young,who initially claimed to be the baby’s father just before an American tabloid revealed the affair. A sixth count accused Edwards of illegally filing campaign finance reports.