A day after acquitting former presidential candidate John Edwards of campaign finance corruption, jurors said the case by federal prosecutors was simply too weak.
Edwards was acquitted Thursday on one of six counts of breaking campaign finance laws. Jurors deadlocked on the other five. That means prosecutors could still re-charge Edwards - but jurors on Friday said the evidence was inconclusive for them.
"I felt like the evidence just wasn't there," said juror Theresa Fuller on "Good Morning America." "It could have been more. Yeah, it could have been a lot more than it was."
"He was just smart enough to hide it and we couldn't find the evidence," said juror Cindy Aquaro on NBC's "Today" show.
Edwards was accused of using nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to keep secret his affair with filmmaker and aide Rielle Hunter, with whom he fathered a child.
The affair developed in 2008 while Edwards was running for president and while Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, was struggling with breast cancer. Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010 and Edwards went public to admit that Hunter's child was his.
Jurors deliberated for nine days before their decision on Thursday afternoon.
Several jurors did say on Friday they believed Edwards was guilty of at least some financial wrongdoing - but prosecutors simply couldn't make the case. When "Today" host Matt Lauer asked for a show of hands when asked if they believed Edwards was at least partly guilty, for example, three jurors raised their hands.
"He definitely had some knowledge of where the money was going," said juror Ladonna Foster.
Several jurors said the government's case was weakened by former Edwards aide Andrew Young, whose credibility was attacked by Edwards' defense team. Young had initially publicly claimed he was the father of Hunter's child, only to change his story later.
He subsequently wrote a tell-all book and testified as the government's star witness, but was forced to admit under cross-examination he did use some Edwards campaign contributions for his own personal use.
A number of jurors on Friday said the case demonstrates the need for stronger and clearer campaign finance laws.
Jury Foreman David Recchion said on NBC the case has "elevated to the world the need for stronger finance law, and it's also elevating what candidates can and can't do as it relates to a campaign."
by RTT Staff Writer
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