Prison Sentence Doomed John Edwards Plea Deal

Fascinating article from the News and Observer about the behind-the-scenes negotiations relating to John Edwards’ indictment…

Just before John Edwards was indicted Friday, prosecutors made a final offer: They would accept his guilty plea to three misdemeanor campaign finance law violations in the $925,000 cover-up of his affair.With the deal, the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee would avoid a felony conviction – and almost certainly keep the law license that had made him wealthy.But there was a catch.The government wanted to dictate a sentence that would result in up to six months of prison for Edwards, even with the plea to lesser charges.Edwards and his lawyers were concerned. They wanted the ability to at least argue to a judge for alternatives, such as a halfway house, weekend releases, home arrest or some arrangement that would allow Edwards to be with his school-age children. He is a single parent after the death of his wife, Elizabeth, in December.But the way the possible plea deal was structured, the Edwards lawyers believed they would be muzzled from advocating at all about Edwards confinement before a judge, according to multiple people who were involved in the negotiations. Those sources described the plea negotiations in detail on a condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.It was the last significant issue to be resolved for a plea. If Edwards didnt agree, he would be indicted on multiple felony charges.Edwards, 57, understood the risk. As a trial lawyer, he had sometimes spurned offers of settlements to take his chances with a jury, often winning big judgments. Would he do that again?The clock was ticking.

MORE:   Prison sentence doomed Edwards plea deal – John Edwards case – NewsObserver.com.

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Filed under Elections, North Carolina, Politics

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