John Edwards Trial Begins: What to Watch

Plus, how many Americans like him? Not many: poll
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2012 9:20 AM CDT
John Edwards arrives outside federal court with his daughter Cate, left, in Greensboro, NC, for his trial on charges of violating federal campaign finance laws, Monday, April 23, 2012.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
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(Newser) – It's not a great day for John Edwards: As his trial begins, a CBS News poll finds that just 3% have a favorable view of the former politician, and the New York Post reports that even his romance with Rielle Hunter—who will likely be called to testify—has petered out. Politico lists six things to watch during the campaign finance trial:

  • How will campaign finance be affected? Though, as Politico points out, "few candidates pay their mistresses," politicians do tend to rack up other personal expenses. One activist fears that if Edwards is convicted, it will encourage campaigns to foot the bill for those costs by suggesting "every bit of money a candidate spends could be seen as in furtherance of his campaign and therefore … a candidate can use campaign funds for almost anything."

  • How will other politicians be affected? Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. John Ensign both appear to be the subject of similar investigations. Richardson allegedly arranged payments to a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him, while Ensign allegedly arranged payments to the husband of his mistress.
  • How will the Public Integrity Section be affected? This DoJ section really needs to win, particularly after a few recent acquittals in other campaign finance-related cases. If Edwards is also acquitted, "the Public Integrity Section continues its slow decline into irrelevance," says one expert; another adds that it may "stop bringing political prosecutions" if this case fails.
Click for Politico's full list, which explains why the jury will see photos of the luxury "bathroom view" Hunter enjoyed.

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