by Bob Geary
[Update 4: From WRAL: Edwards is acquitted of one count; mistrial is declared on the remaining five.]
[Update 3: CNN has a succinct report. The jury remains deadlocked on five of the six charges against Edwards, including the conspiracy charge. It reached agreement only on Count 3, which involved Bunny Mellon's money. The defense moved for the judge to announce the verdict on Count 3, obviously in the belief that it was the weakest charge and most likely to be the one they'd acquit on; it wanted the judge to declare a mistrial on the remaining five charges. The judge said no to both actions, so we don't know what the Count 3 verdict was as yet.
Because the laws on campaign contributions are so riddled with exceptions and work-arounds as to be completely useless as a shield against big money's influence in politics, I don't much care what the verdict on Edwards turns out to be. He probably will be found not guilty, but being not guilty of violating laws that it's almost impossible to violate is hardly any vindication. As I said before, the law ought to make it illegal for contributors to give huge sums of money to candidates—and for candidates to accept them—when they're in or running for public office. If that's not the case, and Duke Energy can give unlimited sums to Pat McCrory for his personal use, and McCrory can spend unlimited sums of his own money on his campaign—as he can—then you might as well give up entirely on having any limits on campaign contributions.]
[Update 2: WRAL is reporting that the jury reached a verdict on just one count; the judge sent them back to the jury room to keep talking about the other five charges without announcing what the decision was on Count 3: Bunny Mellon's money.]
[Update: No verdict yet. If you care, WRAL is streaming live coverage, waiting for word from inside the courthouse in Greensboro.]
My original post, before the jury came in the first time this afternoon:
While we wait. It should be illegal to give a candidate for public office hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal use. Whether it is or not is another question.
Or rather, it's pretty clear, in the post Citizens United era, that it's not illegal at all.
Whether it was when Johnnie was raking in the money for the care and feeding of his mistress, I don't know.
Neither did the jury, apparently. At least, it took 'em awhile.
But as I say, it should be against the law if it isn't.