Edwards' lawyer: Moral wrongs are not legal wrongs

May 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM
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GREENSBORO, N.C., May 17 (UPI) -- Defense attorney Abbe Lowell, in closing arguments, cautioned jurors against convicting former U.S. Sen. John Edwards because of his moral failings.

Edwards, D-N.C., is on trial in federal court in Greensboro, N.C., for misusing more than $1 million in campaign funds to hide his affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter during his unsuccessful run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

The trial wound down Thursday, with the jury expected to get the case Friday after receiving instructions from the judge, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported.

Lowell acknowledged Edwards was an unfaithful husband who lied to his family. But, he said, moral wrongs are not legal wrongs.

Prosecutor David Harbach argued the "seeds of [Edwards'] destruction" were sown in 2006 when Hunter heard the candidate announce his intention to run and grew into "weeds" as the two became involved.

Lawyers for Edwards rested their case Wednesday, without calling Edwards or Hunter to testify.

Prosecutors say Edwards, who had an extramarital affair and fathered a child out of wedlock with Hunter, used campaign funds to hide the affair from the public and his wife, Elizabeth, who was suffering with breast cancer. Defense attorneys say the disputed payments from supporters went to people other than Edwards.

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