NEW: "I'm doing OK, thank you," John Edwards tells reporters
Jurors end second day of deliberations after asking to review documents
Edwards is charged with falsifying documents, taking illegal contributions, conspiracy
Prosecutors say he broke the law by taking big donations to hide his mistress
Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will remain in limbo over the weekend, after a federal jury ended its first day of deliberations in his corruption trial Friday without reaching a verdict.
The eight-man, four-woman jury began weighing the ex-North Carolina senator’s fate on Friday. On Monday afternoon, jurors asked to review a batch of exhibits related to two of the six counts against Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee.
“I’m doing OK, thank you,” Edwards said on his way out of the Greensboro federal courthouse with his daughter, Cate.
Edwards is charged with accepting illegal campaign contributions, falsifying documents and conspiracy. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. Prosecutors said he “knowingly and willingly” accepted almost $1 million from two wealthy donors to hide former mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy, then concealed the donations by filing false and misleading campaign disclosure reports.
Defense attorneys, meanwhile, argued that Edwards was guilty of nothing but being a bad husband to his wife, Elizabeth, who has since died. They also argued that former Edwards aide Andrew Young used the money for his own gain and to pay for Hunter’s medical expenses to hide the affair from Edwards’ wife.
Neither Edwards nor Hunter testified during the four-week trial.
“There is no question it would destroy the campaign of John Edwards,” Higdon said.
Prosecutors argued that Edwards knowingly violated campaign finance laws by accepting the large contributions from Fred Baron and Rachel Mellon that went to support Hunter, Higdon said.
Edwards accepted $725,000 from Mellon and more than $200,000 from Baron, prosecutors said. The money was used to pay for Hunter’s living and medical expenses, travel and other costs to keep her out of sight while Edwards made his 2008 White House run, prosecutors say.
Defense attorneys argued that the donations cannot be considered campaign contributions.
Catherine Dunham, a law professor at Elon University near Greensboro, said the exhibits requested Monday afternoon suggests jurors “are taking apart the evidence on the two cases, Baron and Bunny, piece by piece.”
“This evidence does not go to the question of whether the money was contributions,” Dunham told CNN. “If the jury had followed the defense’s suggestion in closing argument that the quick path out was to find all the money was gifts, not contributions, they could have resolved this case (for Edwards) in an hour.”
Prosecutors said Edwards manipulated Young and others to help keep his affair out of public view. Young testified that he allowed Hunter to move in with him and his wife at Edwards’ request after newspapers began looking into a possible affair within the Edwards campaign. Young initially claimed to be the father of Hunter’s baby girl and testified that Mellon was already funding Hunter’s living expenses when he called Baron to complain about the situation.
Baron offered to help out, telling Young to write up Hunter’s expenses so that Baron could reimburse them, the aide testified.
Neither Baron nor Mellon appeared to know that the other was reimbursing Young for the same expenses, raising questions about whether and how much Young may have profited from the situation.
Another former Edwards aide, speechwriter Wendy Button, testified that Edwards knew Baron was supporting Hunter and her child in 2009.
“There is nothing he won’t lie about, nothing,” Lowell said.
Young, the author of a tell-all book about the Edwards scandal, testified under an agreement with the government in hopes that he will not be prosecuted.
But David Harbach of the U.S. Justice Department’s public integrity section told jurors in a rebuttal argument that Lowell was merely trying to distract jurors from focusing on the charges against Edwards.
“The defense is overplaying their hand,” Harbach said.
CNN’s Adam Reiss, Ted Metzger, Raelyn Johnson, Joe Johns and Michael Martinez contributed to this report.