Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was found not guilty on one count in his campaign finance trial on Thursday, while a mistrial was declared on five other counts against the former Democratic presidential candidate.
Speaking before a pool of cameras outside a federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina, Edwards said the jurors took their job “very, very seriously.”
“All I can say is thank goodness we live in a country that has the kind of system that we have,” Edwards said.
Edwards said he had nobody to blame but himself for his actions, but maintained, as he always has, that he did nothing illegal.
“I did an awful, awful that was wrong,” Edwards said. “I am responsible, and if I want to find the person that should be held accountable for my sins, honestly I don’t have to go any further than the mirror. It’s me. It is me and me alone.”
Edwards also mentioned Quinn, the daughter he fathered with mistress Rielle Hunter. He said he hoped to move on with his life.
“I don’t think God is through with me,” Edwards said.
The Edwards trial, which spanned over a month, centered on the question of when Edwards knew about payments that wealthy donors gave to his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and whether those payments could be considered campaign donations that should have been reported to the Federal Election Commission.
Edwards was charged in June 2011 on six counts — one count of conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws, four counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions and one count of concealing those illegal donations from the FEC.
The defense and prosecution disagreed strongly about whether the law required that influencing an election be the sole purpose for giving money or only one of the reasons, as the government contends.
Edwards contended that the purpose of the payments was to hide his affair and the resulting child from his late wife. Federal prosecutors, on the other hand, said the payments were intended to hide the affair because his campaign centered on his image as a family man.
Jurors began deliberating following closing arguments on May 18 and spent nine days looking over the evidence. Members of the jury had been asked whether they or someone close to them had been affected by infidelity as well as how much attention they paid to the news.
The former North Carolina Senator was once a rising star in the Democratic party, having run as John Kerry’s running mate in 2004 and for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Even after rumors of his affair became public, Edwards was reportedly vying to be the Obama administration’s attorney general and, eventually, a Supreme Court justice.