Lawyers for John Edwards, the former Democratic vice presidential nominee who is embroiled in scandal after having an affair with a campaign aide, asked that criminal charges filed against Edwards be dropped.
Edwards was indicted on June 3 on six felony charges, facing up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine if he is found guilty of using campaign money to cover up his affair and resulting child with Rielle Hunter. If he did use donor money to hide the extramarital affair during his 2008 presidential campaign, he is in violation of Federal Election Commission rules.
Edwards’ lawyers, in paperwork filed Tuesday evening said that the charges were vague.
“While much can be said in questioning how Mr. Edwards conducted himself throughout this saga, the allegations in the Indictment that he violated campaign finance laws should not be among them,” reads part of the memo filed by Edwards’ defense. “The distinction between a wrong and a crime is at the heart of this case.”
The defense also argued in the memos that because the money allegedly used to hide Hunter came from Edwards’ friends Fred Baron and Bunny Mellon, it could not qualify as a campaign expense.
Additionally, Edwards’ attorneys said that the case against Edwards is politically motivated: the prosecutor for the case, former U.S. Attorney George Holding, was appointed by President George W. Bush and is currently campaigning for Congress as a Republican, according to The News and Observer.
“In this prosecution, a major figure in the Democratic Party had been brought down and, as it turns out, a Republican U.S. Attorney with political ambitions of his own has used this high profile case to his personal benefit,” the attorneys wrote.
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.