Edwards indictment on campaign charges green-lighted by DoJ

posted at 10:02 am on May 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Looks like there will soon be two Americas for John Edwards — the one inside a courtroom, and the one outside of it. ABC News reported overnight that the Department of Justice has approved the prosecution of former Senator John Edwards, who once ran on the Democratic ticket for Vice President. The DoJ will seek an indictment on corruption charges related to the use of campaign funds for personal purposes in order to keep his affair quiet:

Edwards might be thinking about cutting a deal:

The United States Department of Justice has green-lighted the prosecution of former presidential candidate John Edwards for alleged violations of campaign laws while he tried to cover up an extra-marital affair, ABC News has learned.

A source close to the case said Edwards is aware that the government intends to seek an indictment and that the former senator from North Carolina is now considering his limited options. He could accept a plea bargain with prosecutors or face a potentially costly trial.

Bet on the plea bargain. Edwards has been in court enough to know what a mountain of evidence means to an unsympathetic defendant, and Edwards is about as unsympathetic as it gets. A rich lawyer cheats on his dying wife, gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then moves cash all over the board to keep it quiet — what is there for a jury to like?

Don’t expect the Department of Justice to offer anything easy, however.  I’m a little surprised they decided to pursue this; let’s not forget that Edwards would probably have been the Attorney General had this affair never come to light.  But now that they have, they can’t afford to be seen as going easy on a one-time political ally of the President (Edwards endorsed Obama in the primaries after withdrawing).  Edwards will end up doing some jail time in any plea bargain, even if it is at Club Fed, and pay a lot of money in fines.  He’ll get disbarred in all likelihood, meaning that he won’t earn a living at the other end of this tunnel, either.  Unlike Richard Nixon, he wasn’t important enough to rehabilitate in politics.

I’m guessing Edwards cuts a deal for a minimum-security federal facility for no more than two years, and gets out in 18 months with at least some of his fortune intact.

Update: Aaron Worthing disagrees with my prediction and says Edwards’ ego won’t allow him to bargain for a reduced sentence.  We’ll see, but you’d be surprised what looking at more than a decade in prison will do for one’s sense of self-preservation.


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As a widower with a young child, the defendant will throw himself of the mercy of the court.

jon1979 on May 25, 2011 at 10:04 AM

It will be tough to get $400 haircuts in the joint.

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:04 AM

If he was black, the idiot Eric Holder would rule him untouchable.

slickwillie2001 on May 25, 2011 at 10:05 AM

I hope somebody finds something to indict Schwarzenegger with.

Mark1971 on May 25, 2011 at 10:05 AM

He’ll be working at MSNBC or CNN by election day 2012.

JammieWearingFool on May 25, 2011 at 10:06 AM

Eliot Spritzer has a new co-host!

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Bet on the plea bargain. Edwards has been in court enough to know what a mountain of evidence means to an unsympathetic defendant, and Edwards is about as unsympathetic as it gets. A rich lawyer cheats on his dying wife, gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then moves cash all over the board to keep it quiet — what is there for a jury to like?

Probably as much as there was to like about a Senator who left a woman to drown in a car he drunkenly drove off a bridge.

MadisonConservative on May 25, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Even without a plea bargain, one of the last things Obama would do in 2012 is pardon him…

right2bright on May 25, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Silky Pony about to be rode hard and put away wet.

BobMbx on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Too bad we can’t get him some time in federal PMITA prison. Would be appropriate for this jackhole.

Red Cloud on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

For a couple cigarettes, you too can ride the Silk Pony.

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:10 AM

What about accepting illegal campaign donations, when does a certain former senator get investigated for that?

Bishop on May 25, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Thank God.
Bcs the Black Panthers-now that was nothing compared to this white guy.

Badger40 on May 25, 2011 at 10:12 AM

I’m guessing Edwards cuts a deal for a minimum-security federal facility for no more than two years, and gets out in 18 months with at least some of his fortune intact.

I’m guessing my pretty pony won’t see a minute inside a jail cell of any kind, but agree with the other penalties.

DrAllecon on May 25, 2011 at 10:13 AM

Probably as much as there was to like about a Senator who left a woman to drown in a car he drunkenly drove off a bridge.

MadisonConservative on May 25, 2011 at 10:08 AM

MA loved their celebrity murderer.
And what was not to love?

What about accepting illegal campaign donations, when does a certain former senator get investigated for that?

Bishop on May 25, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Obama couldn’t be reached for comment.

Badger40 on May 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Obama couldn’t be reached for comment.

Badger40 on May 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM

He was busy trying to figure out what a “lorry” is.

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Karma
He sued and ripped off corporations and now he gets to feel some pain. I doubt the fines will hurt his wallet.

seven on May 25, 2011 at 10:16 AM

And to think, this piece of work was an Ohio victory away from being Vice President in 2004.

Doughboy on May 25, 2011 at 10:16 AM

The white folks in Missouri fined 90,000 dollars for selling 500 dollars worth of bunnies. Now this is a larger case.

seven on May 25, 2011 at 10:18 AM

They can’t do that to him, he already said he’d kill himself rather than go to jail.

Akzed on May 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Great. Now Obama and Holder will use Edwards as the “smoking gun” of “ethics” and the desire to pursue those dasterdly wealthy/lawyer/politico/white guys who take advantage of the system…

See a common thread here?

Edwards had no idea what his “2 Americas” really meant.

And before ya’ll get ahead of yourselves – the reality of the 70 or so other Dem ethic violations mean nothing to the narrative in play. MSM plays along nicely (I still laugh it was the Enquirer who broke the news) and will use Edwards like a pinata.

Odie1941 on May 25, 2011 at 10:20 AM

With an indictment in hand – Edwards comeback for the Democrats is assured.

jake-the-goose on May 25, 2011 at 10:24 AM

what is there for a jury to like?

The hair?

Just spitballin…

catmman on May 25, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Edwards has no political capital for Dear Liar. Except for a prosecution to show “see, I go after Democrats who break the law too.”

rbj on May 25, 2011 at 10:28 AM

I’ll be extremely surprised if Edwards does any jail time.

Really? This guy going to jail?

Again, I’ll be very surprised…

catmman on May 25, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Silky Pony.

Aquateen Hungerforce on May 25, 2011 at 10:29 AM

funny how both edwards and dsk tried to pay off the gals that they worked over. Both of them are scum, but Rielle hunter was a willing participant. Both Elizabeth Edwards and DSK’s hotel maid in NYC were victims.

ted c on May 25, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Resume Enhancement!

Del Dolemonte on May 25, 2011 at 10:30 AM

1. The Uncle Sugar legal process delays it all well into next spring.

2. Plea deal with no jail and a sternly worded letter from the judge.

3. Moves to CA and is elected governor.

Limerick on May 25, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Resume Enhancement!

Del Dolemonte on May 25, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Al Gore Network here I come!!!

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:07 AM

I like the idea of co-hosting with Spitzer. Just change the name of the program to BAD BOYZ.

ex Dem from Miami on May 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

This was a no-brainer. Edwards is despised across the board and it makes Obama look like somebody who wont tolerate corruption even from a Dem who ran on the ticket in 2004.

Southernblogger on May 25, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Silky Pony about to be rode hard and put away wet.

BobMbx on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

lol

golfmann on May 25, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I like the idea of co-hosting with Spitzer. Just change the name of the program to BAD BOYZ.

ex Dem from Miami on May 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Watcha gonna do when they come for you?

LOL!!!

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:36 AM

It will be tough to get $400 haircuts in the joint.

Roy Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 10:04 AM

I’m sure there’s some tranny in there with some products that would be willing to trade some hair care services for some other ‘services’ IYKWIM…

ted c on May 25, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Silky Pony about to be rode hard and put away wet.

BobMbx on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

a ‘hot mess’ in need of some vidal sassoon.

ted c on May 25, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Well, well, well, my faith in the justice system has been restored./s Snort. It will be interesting to see what comes of this because I really don’t think they’ll be hard on him at all. I see a slap on the hands in his future. He may pay a lot in fines, but that’s about it. That’s my guess anyway, but I’m just a cynic. Then he’ll wait a couple years and get his own talk show.

scalleywag on May 25, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Meanwhile, NBPP prosecution most assuredly red-lighted.

Colors.

ted c on May 25, 2011 at 10:51 AM

“Conjugal visits? Mmmm. Not that I know of. Y’know, minimum-security prison is no picnic. I have a client in there right now. He says the trick is: kick someone’s ass the first day, or become someone’s bitch. Then everything will be all right. Why do you ask, anyway?” – Rob Newhouse, Office Space.

Kevin71 on May 25, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Typical ObaMao photo: limp wrist and condescending pat on the back.

onlineanalyst on May 25, 2011 at 10:56 AM

How many of the Palin-bashing Democrats pulled the lever for this clown in 2004, I wonder?

DrSteve on May 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Don’t drop the exfoliating mousse in the shower!

Chuck Schick on May 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Bet on the plea bargain.

I’m leaning against Edwards taking the deal too. My sources tell me he’s looking at 5 years without hair products and only limited hair spray after that. He won’t survive that and he knows it. I’m predicting he self immolates in protest in the courtroom by covering himself in flammable hair gel and lighting up.

Rocks on May 25, 2011 at 11:06 AM

How many of the Palin-bashing Democrats pulled the lever for this clown in 2004, I wonder?

DrSteve on May 25, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Similar to my first thought.

aunursa on May 25, 2011 at 11:11 AM

what is there for a jury to like?

If they’re Democrats, everything.

Disloyalty to wife – check
Mistress – check
Out-of-wedlock child – check
Corruption – check
Utter cheek – check

Do you think they’ll clear him in time to run for office in 2012?

disa on May 25, 2011 at 11:14 AM

for alleged violations of campaign laws

No love for Edwards (believe me, I live in NC), but “campaign finance laws” kinda suck.

If you give money to a huckster like Edwards and he wants to employ his mistress as “videographer”, too bad.

mankai on May 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Venue shopping?
Jack-pot justice?
Prevaricating?
Joe Stalin would have the answer for that CRAP.

nimrod on May 25, 2011 at 11:18 AM

HRC would be POTUS rt now if Edwards hadn’t stayed in the race as the stalking horse.

The SC Debate in which Obummer and Edwards both ganged up on HRC was particularly damaging. Of course then race cards were flying left and right.

And ‘saintly’ Elizabeth knew of course.

this is a big karmic payback coming.

waiting to see if DOJ does anything but harass innocent Americans. Let’s see what they do.

ginaswo on May 25, 2011 at 11:25 AM

A rich lawyer cheats on his dying wife, gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then moves cash all over the board to keep it quiet — what is there for a jury to like?

The thing I find the funniest in all this is that Edwards could have easily avoided all this legal trouble if he had just used his own money, instead of political contributors’ money, to pay for his skanky mistress’ “salary” and living expenses. The man is a multimillionaire, and could easily have afforded it. Yes, I know he was married and was trying to hide the mistress from his wife, but how hard would it have been for him to move some of his own money around and disguise where it was really going? Cheating husbands do it all the time. But Edwards decided to let others pay for his dalliance instead, and now he’s probably going to have to do time. Not only stupid and sleazy, but cheap too.

AZCoyote on May 25, 2011 at 11:28 AM

A rich lawyer cheats on his dying wife, gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then moves cash all over the board to keep it quiet — what is there for a jury to like?

None of these things is the worst thing he did in my opinion. The most onerous thing is the class action law suit he and his wife Elisabeth pursued which made them wealthy. Although no science was involved, the suit against the vaccine industry was successful and has been an important step in driving up health care costs and has resulted in children’s injury because of lack of vaccinations. I have no sympathy for Elisabeth either.

burt on May 25, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Silky Pony about to be rode hard and put away wet.

BobMbx on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

That is absolutely priceless. hahahahaha!

Renwaa on May 25, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Well, well… Using campaign monies to pay hush money to a mistress who had your love-child is illegal afterall. But since Jesse Jackson did the exact same thing and the Injustice Dept completely looked the other way and bent over backwards looking for a reason NOT to prosecute him, John Edwards must’ve gotten the mistaken impression that he would get away with it too. THERE’S YOUR TWO AMERICAS, John!

Mahdi on May 25, 2011 at 11:42 AM

If they released video of him running around the Beverly Hilton looking like a white scared bunny rabbit chased by Enquirer paparrazi, I’d drop charges.

Marcus on May 25, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I have no sympathy for Elisabeth either.

burt on May 25, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Excellent post…too often overlooked, he was just a high buck ambulance chaser, that ruined an industry.

When I moved to NC years ago, if I was a doctor (pediatrician) they would have given me an interest free loan on my signature alone for most any home.
That is how difficult it was to woo doctors to come to the state that the Edwards had ruined with their lawsuits.

right2bright on May 25, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Too bad, you lying cheating ambulance and skirt chasing opportunistic narcissist. Too, too bad.

scalleywag on May 25, 2011 at 12:12 PM

Hey way the by, do we know yet who funded Vera Baker’s (or Irene Schwoeffermann’s) sudden getaway to Martinique? She seems to be doing very well considering she doesn’t really work. I’m sure the old media will get right on this…

slickwillie2001 on May 25, 2011 at 12:35 PM

3. Moves to CA and is elected governor.

Limerick on May 25, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Aaaarrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary in LA on May 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM

We’ll see, but you’d be surprised what looking at more than a decade in prison will do for one’s sense of self-preservation.

It almost sounds like you speak from experience. Ed, is their something we don’t know about you?

Zetterson on May 25, 2011 at 1:35 PM

right2bright on May 25, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Thanks for reading and commentiong on my comment. It has been a long time since anyone did so.

burt on May 25, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Edwards didn’t stay in Washington long enough to be owed any favors or have any dirt on anyone. If he were a “lifer” like Teddy, he’d be untouchable.

ardenenoch on May 25, 2011 at 6:41 PM

Silky Pony about to be rode hard and put away wet.

BobMbx on May 25, 2011 at 10:09 AM

By some big hairy cowboys, no less. He will be fresh meat in the slammer.

Uncle Sams Nephew on May 25, 2011 at 11:11 PM

It’s a same that such a nice guy is going to prison, let’s band together and buy him the clubfed handbook.

NORUK on May 26, 2011 at 5:06 AM