Jury deliberates fifth day in John Edwards' trial

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 07, 2012 12:25 PM
Jury deliberates fifth day in John Edwards' trial

By Colleen Jenkins

GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Reuters) - A fifth day of jury deliberations got under way on Thursday in former U.S. Senator John Edwards' campaign finance case, which legal experts have said could expand the definition of what qualifies as campaign contributions.

Jurors have nearly four weeks of testimony to consider as they determine whether Edwards, 58, conspired to use more than $900,000 from two supporters to conceal his pregnant mistress as he chased the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

Prosecutors said Edwards sought to protect his political image, but the defense argued the donor payments were personal gifts intended to keep his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, from learning he had fathered a child with then-mistress Rielle Hunter.

The 12 jurors must reach a unanimous verdict to convict the Democrats' 2004 vice presidential nominee of charges including conspiring to solicit the money, receiving more than the $2,300 allowed from any one donor, and failing to report the payments as contributions.

Edwards faces possible prison time and fines if he is found guilty.

(Reporting By Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Vicki Allen)