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Moments after a federal judge rejected John Edwards’ efforts to dismiss the government’s criminal case against him, the former Senator and one-time rising star of Democratic politics stood outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina, and pronounced that he is ready to fight.

“What’s important now is that I now get my day in court,” Edwards proclaimed that day last October. “After all these years — I finally get my day in court.”

Edwards, 58, an attorney who made his name and built his fortune arguing malpractice cases in North Carolina courtrooms, is now placing his future and his freedom in the hands of a jury of his peers.