GREENSBORO, N.C. — A federal judge refused to throw out campaign-corruption charges against John Edwards Friday, meaning the former presidential hopeful will have to present his case to a jury.
Lawyers for Edwards argued before U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles that prosecutors failed to prove that the 2008 candidate intentionally violated the law or that some of the alleged offenses actually occurred in the Middle District of North Carolina, the venue where he was indicted.
After 21/2 hours of arguments from the defense and rebuttal from the prosecution, the judge ruled quickly from the bench that the government had met its basic burden under the law.
“We will let the jury decide,” Eagles said.
Motions to dismiss are routine in criminal trials, but rarely granted. The decision means Edwards’ defense team will begin calling its first witnesses Monday, including former Federal Election Commission Chairman Scott Thomas, political pollster Harrison Hickman and ex-Edwards attorney Wade Smith.
Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations. He is accused of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.
He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted on all counts.