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John Edwards corruption trial: closing arguments

May 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A prosecutor used John Edwards' own stump speech against him in closing arguments at his corruption trial Thursday, accusing him of violating campaign finance laws meant to protect "the two Americas" in order to cover up a lurid sex scandal..

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations. He is accused of using money from wealthy donors to hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, during the 2008 Democratic primary.

Each side was allotted two hours to wrap up their case. The prosecution said he was a seasoned politician who flouted campaign finance laws meant to give the rich and the poor an equal say in elections.

"Campaign finance laws are designed to bring the two Americas together at election time," prosecutor Bobby Higdon said. "John Edwards forgot his own rhetoric."

Edwards' attorneys countered, saying the former presidential candidate was guilty of committing sins, but not crimes.

"This is a case that should define the difference between a wrong and a crime ... between a sin and a felony," attorney Abbe Lowell told the jury. "John Edwards has confessed his sins. He will serve a life sentence for those. But he has pleaded not guilty to violating the law."

The defense also accused prosecutors of trying to use sordid details of the cover-up of an affair to send a famous politician to prison.

The jury will begin deliberations on Friday. Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if he is convicted of all charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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