Edwards verdict: Government's case failed over Young's credibility

John Edwards.
CBS News

(CBS News) On Thursday, John Edwards, the former vice presidential nominee, was acquittedof one count of campaign finance fraud in connection with his run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The jury reported that it was hopelessly deadlocked on five other counts. So the judge declared a mistrial on those counts, ending the case.

How did the government fail its case? CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley spoke with Erin Moriarty of "48 Hours Mystery," who has been watching testimony in the courtroom.

Pelley: What appeared to be the central flaw in the government's case?

Moriarty: I think, simply put, it's Andrew Young, the government's key witness. The government built its case on his testimony. He's the one who said that John Edwards solicited the money from the two wealthy donors, then used it to hide his girlfriend from the American public as part of his campaign. But during cross-examination, Andrew Young had to admit that he used more than a million dollars of that money for his own house and I think his credibility was severely damaged [up] to that point.

Pelley: He used that money to build his own house -- he essentially stole it, is what he said.

Moriarty: He did and he was double dealing. He actually told one donor that he owed money and that he had already paid that with Bunny Mellon's money.

Pelley: So can prosecutors try again?

Moriarty: They can, and we saw that in the Roger Clemens case. But they are stuck with Andrew Young. I don't think it's likely they will.

Edwards not guilty on 1 count; mistrial declared on other 5 counts
  • Erin Moriarty
    Erin Moriarty

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"