Former prosecutors provide insight into Edwards verdict and mistrial
Updated: 05/31/2012 09:40 PM
By: Heather Moore
RALEIGH – News 14 Carolina talked to a couple of former prosecutors turned defense attorneys to get their legal analysis on the Edwards verdict. They're not associated with the Edwards case, but offer some insight into the legal proceedings.
Both agree it was a huge win for John Edwards and his defense team, but they have different reactions to the one acquittal and mistrial on the five other charges.
“It's not terribly surprising,” said Raleigh attorney Hart Miles. “There was no smoking gun. There was nothing out there that you could classify as a confession or admission, and of course, we didn't hear from Bunny Mellon. We didn't hear from John Edwards, so it makes a great argument for reasonable doubt for the defense side.”
“I was surprised when I found out what the verdict was,” said Raleigh attorney Karl Knudsen. “Usually when you have a multi-count situation and you get a verdict on one and mistrials on the other, it more often happens that it means it's a conviction on one and they're hung up on the others.”
Knudsen and Miles agree it's unlikely prosecutors will retry Edwards, but they also said he can't rest easy, just yet.
“If they weren't able to prove it the first time, they're not likely to be able to do it again,” Knudsen said.
“There still has to be a little anxiety there,” Miles said of Edwards. “You can't take it for granted you're not going to be retried.”
Knudsen said the acquittal and mistrial make federal prosecutors look bad for choosing to file charges in the first place, especially former US Attorney George Holding who oversaw the investigation and Edwards' indictment. He's now running for Congress.
“An acquittal is an embarrassment to the government and lends credence to the theory that John Edwards was tried as much for who he was as he was tried for what he was accused of doing and there were political motivations for doing this,” Knudsen said.
News 14 Carolina asked the George Holding for Congress campaign for his comments on the verdict. So far, they have declined to comment.
Both Miles and Knudsen say they're interested to see how the jury was split on the five charges; whether they were evenly divided or if there were just one or two hold-outs.
If there were just a couple of hold-out jurors, they want to know which way the jury was leaning; guilty or not guilty.
They said that information could be a big factor in whether or not prosecutors decide to retry the case.
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