Prosecution won't call Rielle Hunter

May 9, 2012 at 7:35 PM
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GREENSBORO, N.C., May 9 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in former U.S. Sen. John Edwards' campaign finance trial said Wednesday they do not plan to call his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, to the stand.

Kieran Shanahan, a former prosecutor who practices law in Raleigh, N.C., and has observed most of the testimony in the federal courtroom in Greensboro, said it could be risky for the prosecution not to call Hunter, who could reveal the more seamy aspects behind the scenes of a presidential campaign, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported.

"It's an untold and unfinished story if prosecutors don't bring her in," Shanahan told the newspaper.

Defense attorneys could still call Hunter to the stand, but risk her being a reminder of their client's affair, Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles told the newspaper.

"She is a reminder of a theme of betrayal, of a theme of dishonesty, of a theme of causing damage to a family," he said.

Edwards is accused of conspiring to secretly get more than $900,000 from two supporters to hide his affair with Hunter and her pregnancy. He pleaded not guilty to six charges related to violations of federal campaign finance laws.

Jennifer Palmieri, a former campaign staffer, testified Wednesday Edwards' wife Elizabeth Edwards, who has since died, was angry about two wealthy donors' continued financial support to Hunter despite assurances the affair was over, ABC News reported. Palmieri said Elizabeth Edwards thought the support made "John look more and more guilty."

The former staffer said Edwards was present during Elizabeth Edwards' argument with the two donors, and knew about the cover-up. The two donors, Fred Baron and Lisa Blue, told Elizabeth the money was spent to keep Hunter from coming forward about the affair.

"Lisa kept saying, 'You've got to hold your friends close and your enemies even closer,'" Palmieri said.

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