|On Day 5, Edwards Jury Plows Through the Exhibits|
By KIM SEVERSON
Published: May 24, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. — After five days, the jurors in the federal corruption case against former Senator John Edwards continue to grapple with the six charges against him.
Their deliberations began last Friday, with a request for some exhibits and office supplies. Except for a few more requests for exhibits, and clarification from the judge on when they might quit for the day, the only indication of their mood comes from their brief daily appearances in the courtroom, where spectators can try to decipher facial expressions or body languages.
Mr. Edwards, too, has been inscrutable. For what appears to be luck, he has worn a green tie to court every day since the jury took the case. On Thursday, perhaps to get his mind off his fate, he took in a college baseball game at the stadium a short walk from the courthouse with his daughter Cate and his parents.
The lawyers and journalists who have attended the monthlong trial have had plenty of time to speculate. Is the jury conflicted, methodical or perhaps both?
There is no way to know, but clues may be gleaned from the kinds of evidence the jurors have been requesting during the 28 hours they have spent together in the courthouse here.
On Thursday they wanted 22 exhibits, most of which have to do with counts 4 and 5. Those are based on money from Fred Baron, the Texas lawyer who was the Edwards campaign finance chairman. Mr. Baron was one of two wealthy donors who provided money and other support used to hide Mr. Edwards's mistress from his wife, Elizabeth, and from the public as he sought the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
The request could indicate that the jury had reached a decision on counts 2 and 3, which are based on $725,000 that the other donor, Rachel Mellon, gave Mr. Edwards, and had moved on to the two that center on Mr. Baron. Earlier in the week, many of the exhibits they wanted were related to Ms. Mellon, who at 101 was too frail to travel from her home in Virginia to testify.
The other two charges involve accusations of conspiracy and filing false federal reports.
Ms. Mellon secretly sent checks to an Edwards aide, Andrew Young, and his wife, Cheri, who used them to take care of Mr. Edwards's mistress, Rielle Hunter. But they also kept plenty for themselves. Mr. Young also once claimed paternity of the child Mr. Edwards fathered with Ms. Hunter.
On Thursday, the jury asked for a list of all the payments from Mr. Baron and Ms. Mellon that went to the Youngs. They totaled $1.07 million. The jury also wanted to see a series of bills for luxury hotels, private jets and rent for a California home paid for by Mr. Baron.
Judge Catherine C. Eagles of Federal District Court finally offered to simply send all of the evidence back to the jury room. She also told the jurors they could finish their work for the week at 3:30 p.m. Friday and resume on Tuesday if they did not reach a verdict."