Federal prosecutors handling the trial against John Edwards rested their case last week against the former Democratic presidential candidate. On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles declined a request by the Edwards defense team to toss the case for lack of evidence.
This week, it’s the defense team’s turn. They are expected to make the strong — if not necessarily sympathetic — argument that he would have asked friends for money to hide his mistress even if he wasn’t running for president because he wanted to keep the affair a secret from his cancer-stricken wife.
Many observers agree that the case itself remains a stretch for the government — especially given the dramatic changes to campaign finance law that have happened following the 2008 election.
But what has been clear from the proceedings to this point is that the former heir apparent to the Democratic party, who had already completed a spectacular fall from grace, has been shown through testimony to be even more unscrupulous than many might have previously thought.
Here’s the 5 best pieces of evidence that make that case so far:
Edwards Referred to Hunter as a ‘Crazy Slut’
Former aide Andrew Young testified that Edwards called mistress Rielle Hunter a “crazy slut” after she told Edwards she was pregnant in June 2007. Young said Edwards told him there was “a 1-in-3 chance” that the child was his.
He Asked Sean Penn For PR Advice
Edwards reached out to Sean Penn, Madeleine Stowe and Crash director Paul Haggis before admitting to fathering a child with mistress Rielle Hunter, former campaign speechwriter Wendy Button testified. Button helped Edwards work through 13 drafts of a statement admitting paternity in the summer of 2009 but did not end up admitting paternity until January 2010.
Justice John Edwards?
Former Edwards campaign adviser Leo Hindery testified that Edwards told him to reach out to then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to make sure they knew he was up for the VP slot despite the unfolding mistress scandal. Edwards allegedly said he would trade his endorsement in exchange a spot on the ticket. Hindery testified that Edwards believed he could be attorney general if he wasn’t made vice president.
“We talked about a more elaborate long-term goal of Mr. Edwards, which was to be a Supreme Court justice,” Hindery testified.
Told Aide To ‘Go Fuck’ Himself
Edwards allegedly told Peter Scher to “go fuck [himself]” when he confronted him about the affair.
“I told him if it was true that he was having an affair with Ms. Hunter, he should not run for president,” Scher testified. “If it was true, eventually it would come out and it would destroy his political career.”
Bunny Thought Edwards Should Pay For His Own Girlfriend
Designer Bryan Huffman, an interior designer who is close with 101-year-old Edwards donor Bunny Mellon, testified that the heiress wasn’t one to judge someone having an extramarital affair but did have an opinion about how her money was spent.
“She thought maybe you should probably pay for your girlfriend yourself,” Huffman testified.