Jurors in the John Edwards trial have been sent back to the jury room after members of the panel told the judge they only reached a verdict on one of six counts against the former Democratic presidential candidate.
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.
After nine days of deliberations, jurors said Thursday that they had only reached a unanimous verdict on count three, which charged Edwards with accepting donations from donor Bunny Mellon that exceeded campaign finance limitations.
Their verdict on that one count was not revealed, and the judge told jurors to continue deliberating. The Edwards defense team is seeking a mistrial.
Here’s the judge’s instructions to jurors about count 3 on May 18:
In order to find Mr. Edwards guilty of Count 3, the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following three elements:
1. First, that Mr. Edwards was a candidate for federal office, specifically for President of the United States;
2. Second, that while a candidate, Mr. Edwards accepted or received, or willfully caused another to accept or receive on his behalf, campaign contributions from Rachel “Bunny” Mellon that totaled $25,000 or more during calendar year 2008; and
3. Third, that Mr. Edwards acted knowingly and willfully.
I have already explained these three elements to you in some detail in connection with Count 2, and the law is the same on Count 3. I will add a couple of points.
First, the government has to prove that Mr. Edwards accepted or received, or willfully caused another to accept or receive on his behalf, contributions that totaled $25,000 or more during calendar year 2008, while he was a candidate for federal office. So, you obviously cannot include any money received in 2007. However, Mr. Edwards’ actions in causing another to accept or receive a contribution, if you find that he did, need not have occurred in 2008, and indeed it can be the same action that caused another to accept or receive contributions in 2007. So, the only thing that has to happen in 2008 is the acceptance or receipt of a contribution, and of course it must have been accepted or received while Mr. Edwards was a candidate for the presidency, not afterwards. These elements, of course, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, along with all the other elements.
So, on Count 3, before you can find Mr. Edwards guilty, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, while he was a candidate for president, Mr. Edwards knowingly and willfully accepted or received, or knowingly and willfully caused another to accept or receive on his behalf, contributions from Ms. Mellon that totaled $25,000 or more during calendar year 2008.