Will Edwards Case Yield Prison Term or “Black Eye” for Prosecutors?

As jury deliberations enter their third day in former presidential candidate John Edwards’s political corruption trial in Greensboro, N.C., the U.S. Department of Justice has a lot riding on his case, too, says the Raleigh News & Observer. Justice’s public-integrity section has been under scrutiny since the bungled 2008 case against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK).
Since the Stevens case, the unit has a new chief, former New York-based federal prosecutor Jack Smith. The Justice Department also has ordered training to make sure prosecutors disclose key evidence to defense attorneys. Kieran Shanahan, a former federal prosecutor who sat through the trial, said Edwards – if convicted – would likely receive a concurrent sentence and serve no more than five years. Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University and co-author of “The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption,” said a not-guilty verdict would be “a black eye” for the Justice Department. “It would call into question their decision even to pursue the case,” Henning added.

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