GREENSBORO, N.C. – Attorneys for John Edwards expect to rest their case Wednesday without calling the two-time Democratic presidential candidate or his one-time mistress to the witness stand.
Edwards’ defense team had presented little more than two days of testimony and evidence. Prosecutors spent nearly three weeks trying to convince a jury that Edwards masterminded a conspiracy to use nearly $1 million secretly provided by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.
Many people watching the case believed Edwards would testify so the jury could hear directly from the former U.S. senator and trial lawyer, who had a reputation for his ability to sway jurors. But putting Edwards on the stand would have exposed him to withering cross-examination about his past lies and personal failings.
The defense also elected not to call Edwards’ oldest daughter, Cate.
Prosecutors will now get a chance to call rebuttal witnesses, and closing arguments could come as early as Wednesday afternoon.
Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts including conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act, accepting contributions that exceeded campaign finance limits, and causing his campaign to file a false financial disclosure report.
He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.
Edwards has sat quietly at the defense table throughout his trial, whispering with his lawyers and rarely showing reaction to the often emotional testimony from witnesses who were once among his strongest supporters and closest friends. He has made no public statements since October, following a pre-trial hearing where a judge refused to throw out the criminal case against him
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