John Edwards disgraceful downfall
When John Edwards won the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary in February 2004, he looked like a bona fide White House contender.
When the Kerry-Edwards Democratic ticket came within one state (Ohio, which the Bush-Cheney ticket took by only 2.1 percent) of winning nine months later, Mr. Edwards looked like a strong candidate for another presidential run in 2008.
But when he walked out of the federal courthouse in Greensboro Thursday after being acquitted on one count of campaign-finance fraud, with the jury hung on five related counts, he looked like ó and was ó a thoroughly disgraced political has-been.
While Mr. Edwards apparently retains considerable wealth from his days as a trial lawyer, the publicís justified contempt for him precludes any return to elective office.
Itís been a steep downfall for the Seneca mill workerís son who somehow rose rapidly on the national scene during a single undistinguished term (1999-2005) as a U.S. senator from North Carolina.
During his 2008 presidential bid, Mr. Edwards covered up fathering a child outside his marriage even as his wife suffered from cancer that would kill her two years later.
He not only took contributions of hush money for the mother of that child, he was able to persuade an aide to pose as the real father.
Mr. Edwardsí actions were, in a word, despicable.
The sordid details that came out during a trial that lasted more than a month fully confirmed that Mr. Edwards was a cad. But they didnít convince all of the jury members who deliberated for more than a week that he was a criminal.
And though the mistrial that resulted from the panelís deadlock on five charges gives the government the option try again, Justice Department officials told assorted media outlets that such a replay is unlikely.
Good. Federal prosecutors have wasted far too much time and money on a shaky case.
Just as far too many Americans once wasted their votes on John Edwards.