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John Edwards acquitted on 1 count, mistrial on 5 others

By Michael Biesecker

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, May 31 2012 11:18 p.m. MDT

Ex-presidential candidate John Edwards speaks outside a federal courthouse as his daughter Cate Edwards, left, and parents Wallace Edwards, second from right, and Bobbie Edwards, right, look on after his campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial Thursday, May 31, 2012 in Greensboro, N.C. Jurors acquitted Edwards on one charge and deadlocked on the other five, unable to decide whether he used money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president and his wife was dying of cancer. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. — John Edwards' campaign finance fraud case ended in a mistrial Thursday when jurors acquitted him on one of six charges but were unable to decide whether he misused money from two wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president.

The trial exposed a sordid sex scandal that unfolded while Edwards' wife was dying of cancer, but prosecutors couldn't convince jurors that the ex-U.S. senator and 2004 vice presidential candidate masterminded a $1 million cover-up of his affair.

"While I do not believe I did anything illegal, or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong and there is no one else responsible for my sins," Edwards said on the courthouse steps.

He also said he had hope for his future.

"I don't think God's through with me. I really believe he thinks there's still some good things I can do."

Edwards would have faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges. He did not testify, along with his mistress Rielle Hunter and the two donors whose money was at issue.

Jurors acquitted him on a charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions, involving $375,000 from elderly heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2008. He had also been charged with illegally accepting $350,000 from Mellon in 2007, other donations from wealthy Texas attorney Fred Baron, filing a false campaign finance report and conspiracy.

The jurors, who deliberated nine days, did not talk to the media as they left the courthouse. Several media organizations, including The Associated Press, have filed a motion asking for the names to be released but the judge has refused to release the information for at least a week.

Federal prosecutors are unlikely to retry the case, a law enforcement official told AP on the condition of anonymity because the decision will undergo review in the coming days.

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