(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — John Edwards’ lawyers abruptly ended his defense Wednesday without hearing from the former presidential candidate or the mistress with whom he carried on an affair.
Lawyers for Edwards ended their case with a series of bank statements, phone records and Federal Election Commission memos and a final shot against the credibility of Edwards’ primary accuser, Andrew Young.
Edwards’ attorney Abbe Lowell reminded the jury that Young and his wife Cheri considered selling a sex tape they found that had been made by Edwards and his mistress Rielle Hunter.
They “had in their possession a private video of Rielle Hunter and John Edwards. They considered selling the private video,” Lowell read into the court record.
Lowell had to be asked by the court to also read the part of the statement that said the Youngs “did not sell” the tape.
Introducing the Youngs’ talk of selling the sex tape was apparently meant to leave the jury with the impression that Young, who is key to the prosecution’s case, was not a credible person.
The courtroom had been braced for blockbuster testimony from Edwards’ mistress Rielle Hunter, Edwards’s daughter Cate, or Edwards himself.
All three were on a list of possible witnesses for Wednesday, but the defense rested without calling any of them.
The evidence presented by the defense contrasts starkly with the dramatic and often emotional testimony of presented by the prosecution detailing Edwards’ attempt to keep his affair and the birth of their baby a secret, huge amounts of money spent to keep the secret hidden, his distraught wife’s discovery of the continuing affair, and the unhappy last days of Elizabeth Edwards.
The prosecution called no rebuttal witnesses, setting the stage for lawyers to make their closing arguments beginning Thursday.
Edwards is on trial for allegedly using nearly $1 million in donations from wealthy backers Fred Baron and Rachel “Bunny” Mellon to keep his affair secret to protect his presidential ambitions and later his hopes of winning a spot as vice president or attorney general.
The nearly $1 million in donations used to hide Edwards’ mistress and love child were not campaign contributions, the Federal Election Commission concluded, according to documents his defense team filed late Tuesday.
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