Edwards jury dismissed for weekend

May 25, 2012 at 11:37 PM
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GREENSBORO, N.C., May 25 (UPI) -- Jurors in North Carolina were dismissed for the weekend Friday after a sixth day of deliberation in the campaign finance trial of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards.

The panel -- which had requested 20 exhibits Thursday involving payments from one of two wealthy benefactors -- is to return after the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, but Judge Catherine C. Eagles said she may need to confer with attorneys Tuesday regarding an issue involving a juror, CNN reported Friday.

The payments from wealthy donors were allegedly used to help hide Edwards' pregnant mistress during his campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, the Los Angeles Times reported. Edwards, D-N.C., is charged with six counts of violating federal campaign finance laws by taking illegal campaign contributions, filing false campaign finance records and conspiracy.

The jury must decide whether the payments were illegal campaign contributions. Edwards, 58, faces up to 30 years in jail and $1.5 million in fines if convicted.

The exhibits the jurors asked for Friday involved payments by Edwards' campaign finance chairman, the late Fred Baron. The only defense exhibit the jurors requested was a chart of payments from Baron and billionaire heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon.

Eagles has offered to make all trial exhibits available in an effort to speed up the deliberation process.

The judge cleared the courtroom for a time Friday to take up an issue involving a juror, ABC News reported. When the court session resumed, Eagles did not disclose details of the matter.

However, ABC said a female alternate juror has appeared to flirt with Edwards in the courtroom, smiling at him and giggling after he smiles back.

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