Farewell John Edwards — We Know You All Too Well
In the end, what was more pathetic – the government’s prosecution of John Edwards or John Edwards himself? I hate to say it but both sides came out the losers.
John Edwards needs to crawl back under the rock from where he came. The sooner the better. His post-trial statement with his daughter and parents at his side and behind him made everyone wince. His declaration that God was not “finished with him yet” is very true because God will make sure John Edward lands in hell, which is where he belongs.
John Edwards has eclipsed many of our famous politicians suffering a downward slide. He is no longer relevant and we can only hope that he is never again seen or heard from in a public setting.
The government, however, is no angel in this matter. Why was Edwards even prosecuted in the first place? The US attorney and the Justice Department have undermined any notion of “prosecutorial discretion” and professionalism by bringing this case.
Public perception of prosecutors is at all time low because of press reports and exaggerations circling claims of misconduct. Now we have to add to that mix the exercise of poor judgment.
Among prosecutors it is well settled hat you do not take on a public figure unless you have a strong case. Even a vilified figure like John Edwards, who allegedly was flirting with the jury, is entitled to that reality. It runs contrary to equal justice but every prosecutor knows the importance of a strong case. Unfortunately, the prosecutors in North Carolina thought a publicly vilified figure would be easily convicted. Even Edwards himself feared conviction since he tried to negotiate a pre-indictment plea.
The government forgot one important requirement to convicting John Edwards – the law was not on its side. It is hard enough to convict a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt in a white collar case. White collar practitioners know that the focus of every trial is on the state of mind of the defendant. No one disputes the actions themselves. It is what the defendant was thinking at the time he or she committed the uncontested acts.
If the law surrounding the conduct is murky, the government will have a tough time convincing a jury that the defendant acted with the required state of mind. That is exactly what happened in the Edwards case. The campaign finance law defining a political contribution is not clear, even to legal experts, much less John Edwards.
The government knew this from the beginning and so did the defense. Yet the government went forward with the case. That was its biggest mistake. The case should have been closed and never indicted.
Just think how lucky we would all have been. The tawdry details of John Edwards would have stayed where they belonged – out of the public eye. If only the government had done the right thing and declined to prosecute.
Now, we all know too much about John Edwards, and it is time for him to take his rightful place – in the ash heap of history. Goodbye and good riddance.