Updated: Oct. 27, 11:34AM
A federal judge in North Carolina has declined to dismiss campaign finance charges against John Edwards. The case is set to proceed to trial in January, according to the Associated Press.
Edwards’ lawyer argued Wednesday that the case was politically motivated and shouldn’t move forward.
The case against Edwards is based on a relatively novel legal argument, as TPM previously reported:
But the Edwards camp has a pretty strong — if sleazy — rebuttal: he would have asked the friend to give money to his mistress even if he wasn’t running for president to keep her and the child they had together hidden from his wife.
So the question essentially boils down to whether the payments from wealthy Edwards supporter Bunny Mellon to the candidate’s mistress were meant to help his campaign or whether they would have been made regardless of whether he was running for president.
Federal prosecutors at the Justice Department are relying on an advisory opinion issued in 2000 by the Federal Election Commission which found that campaign regulations apply to an individual giving a gift to an candidate running for office. The FEC concluded that the “proposed gift would not be made but for the recipient’s status as a Federal candidate; it is, therefore, linked to the Federal election,” and was therefore subject to regulation.
Melanie Sloan of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which filed an amicus brief in support of Edwards’ motion to dismiss, said she still thinks the prosecution is bogus.
“It is disappointing the judge did not dismiss the today, but I remain convinced this prosecution is misguided and that - as hateful as his conduct was - Sen. Edwards did not commit a crime,” Sloan wrote in an email to TPM.