Manatt’s Kenneth B. Julian, a partner in the firm’s Litigation Division, spoke to Law360 about the defense team representing John Edwards, two-time U.S. presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator, in a case alleging that Edwards violated campaign finance law by using money to hide an extramarital affair.
Law360 reports that Edwards’ defense lawyers recently rested their case without calling key witnesses to the stand, including Edwards, his daughter and his mistress. Instead, the team focused on the minutiae of the Federal Election Campaign Act, claiming that Edwards was unaware of the money, which was allegedly given as a gift for his personal use, not as a campaign contribution.
Legal observers note that the defense may have played it safe by not calling Edwards to the stand. "It would have been a complete reminder of the moral failings of John Edwards, live and in color," said Julian. "And on the defense side, you don't want to call any mixed-bag witness—witnesses who are partially good for you and partially good for the government."
Julian added, "When a case comes this far, it's always tough to get an acquittal, but I think he's got a pretty decent shot. I think the government has got to be a little bit concerned."
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