John Edwards' incredible gamble
But he's not the only one caught in lie. Edwards denied he was the father of Hunter's baby.
"There's no defending John Edwards' conduct," said former prosecutor Melanie Sloan. "It was deplorable, loathsome - pick any adjective. He wasn't just hiding it from the American people, but from his cancer-stricken, dying wife. You really can't get lower than that."
It is no surprise that Sloan, who now runs CREW (a Washington ethics watchdog group), doesn't like John Edwards. But what IS surprising is that Sloan believes the case against him should be thrown out.
"If the Justice Department believes that the money that Fred Baron and Bunny Mellon spent constitutes campaign contributions, then they need to change the law to make it clear, and we can do that," she said. "But it doesn't mean you get to prosecute somebody who has no notice that this is against the law, and then try and create a crime that way."
Federal prosecutors declined to be interviewed. But according to court documents, the Justice Department has spent vast federal resources to pursue this case: At least 56 FBI and IRS agents were employed in the nearly four-year-long investigation.
The trial was delayed for several months, in part because Edwards' lawyers had asked it to be postponed while he was treated with medication for atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat.
Edwards was reportedly offered a plea deal that would have involved a few months in a Federal prison, but he would have been allowed him to keep his law license. He turned it down.
Dellinger says it is an incredible gamble on his part: "I think that one could argue that there's a real recklessness to it, if there was any way for him to avoid jail time as part of a plea agreement. Same for the government. It's left with both sides taking a very big risk."
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