Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

News

April 12, 2012

Jury selection under way in John Edwards trial

GREENSBORO, N.C. — After years of investigation, denials and delays, jury selection began Thursday for the criminal trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards.

Edwards sat at the defense table as about 100 potential jurors filed into a Greensboro, N.C., courtroom. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Eagles then asked Edwards to stand and face them. He smiled and nodded as the judge introduced him.

Edwards, who served a single term in the U.S. Senate, faces six criminal counts related to nearly $1 million in secret payments made by two campaign donors to help hide the married Democrat's pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.

"This is not a case about whether Mr. Edwards was a good husband or politician," the judge said from the bench. "It's about whether he violated campaign finance laws."

Eagles emphasized the potential jurors' important role in the upcoming trial and ordered them not to tell anyone, even their families, that they had been called for the Edwards case. She also advised them to put out of their minds any media coverage they had seen and to ignore any legal dramas they might have seen on television, because such shows may mischaracterize the law or how a courtroom operates.

"You can watch Law & Order, Judge Judy, John Grisham; put it out of your mind," Eagles said. "I will tell you what the law is."

The jurors were then ushered to other parts of the courthouse to fill out lengthy written questionnaires. Their answers will be used to begin the selection process. A second batch of jurors is scheduled to come in the afternoon to follow the same process.

By next week, the large jury pool is to be winnowed down to 12 jurors and at least four alternate jurors expected to attend each day of the proceedings. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin April 22.

The trial is expected to last six weeks, though the judge warned it could go even longer.

"There are many ways that on TV justice is not realistic," she said. "One of those is that trials occur in an hour."

The money at issue in the case flowed to Andrew Young, a former campaign aide who initially claimed the baby was his. Young is expected to be a key witness for the prosecution. The mistress, Rielle Hunter, may testify as part of Edwards' defense.

Following years of adamant public denials, Edwards acknowledged paternity of Hunter's daughter in 2010.

A key question will be whether Edwards knew about the payments made on his behalf by his national campaign finance chairman, the late Texas lawyer Fred Baron, and campaign donor Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, an heiress and socialite who is now 101 years old. Both had already given Edwards' campaign the maximum $2,300 individual contribution allowed by federal law.

Edwards denies having known about the money, which paid for private jets, luxury hotels and Hunter's medical care. Prosecutors will seek to prove he sought and directed the payments to cover up his affair, protect his public image as a "family man" and keep his presidential hopes viable.

If convicted, Edwards faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and as much as $1.5 million in fines.

1
Text Only
News
  • Body found in bed of truck

    Authorities on late Wednesday had not confirmed the identity of a body found in the back of a pickup truck near Reklaw on Tuesday.
    According to a press release from the New Summerfield Police Department, officials received a report of an abandoned 2001 Ford pickup Tuesday that was located on a parcel of land in rural Cherokee County.

    July 31, 2014

  • JISD sets public hearing for proposed $45M budget

    JISD trustees have set a 6:30 p.m. public hearing Aug. 25 to discuss a proposed $45,047,303 budget and proposed $1.395 tax rate for the upcoming school year.
    The proposed figures are an increase of $9,532,176 from this past year's $35.5 million budget.

    July 31, 2014

  • Public health department extends hours to help parents get students vaccinated

    As summer break winds down for students, parents turn their eye to more practical matters, like making sure their children are on-task with state-mandated immunizations.

    July 31, 2014

  • Alto City Council examines gas line issue

    City leaders have started looking into the process of moving a gas line that runs from Alto through Wells along U.S. Hwy. 69 to meet requirements of TxDOT, which is widening the road through the city.

    July 26, 2014

  • Old Jville Bearden Store.tif Longtime furniture store changes hands

    For the better part of a century, Bearden Furniture Co., Inc., has been the go-to place for local residents wanting to beautify their home.
    Furniture and accessories, carpeting, window treatments – even electronics at one point – were offered at the Commerce Street store, but on July 1, the family who started Bearden's sold the company to Louisiana-based Ivan Smith Furniture company.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    A 25-year-old mother is in the Henderson County Jail after telling authorities that she had killed her four-year-old daughter, Monday
    morning.

    July 24, 2014

  • Bullard: District names Jan Hill as deputy superintendent

    Bullard Independent School District is proud to announce Jan Hill as Deputy Superinten-dent. Hill will assume the new role effective immediately.

    July 24, 2014

  • ‘Christmas in July’ drive benefits area foster children

    Sure, December is still more than five months away, but Cherokee County residents are getting the chance to start spreading some holiday cheer a little early this year during the annual Christmas in July donation drive, benefitting the county's Rainbow Room.

    July 24, 2014

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014