From VP nominee to Jail Bird?

Voir Dire for Edwards Case Begins Tomorrow

The jury that will judge disgraced former Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, is to be selected on Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., bringing Edwards closer to a possible stint in prison.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the case:

Mr. Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee and a 2008 presidential contender, was indicted last June on six felony and misdemeanor counts, including making false statements to the Federal Election Commission. Mr. Edwards is accused of violating campaign-finance laws during his 2008 presidential campaign by accepting more than $900,000 from two donors, in part to conceal an extramarital affair with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, and her resulting pregnancy. Mr. Edwards, who has denied the charges, could face five years in prison and hefty fines, if convicted.

Opening statements are tentatively scheduled for April 23, if a jury has been selected. The trial is expected to take six weeks and include testimony from Ms. Hunter and from Andrew Young, a former aide whom Mr. Edwards initially named as the father of Ms. Hunter's child. It's not clear who else will testify; the court has not released a full list of witnesses. The affair and pregnancy were closely held secrets, so there are a relatively small number of people who can give first-hand accounts.

If convicted, Mr. Edwards will have had an unusually steep fall from grace. The case could also set a precedent in the way campaign-finance laws are enforced. The Justice Department's corruption unit is using an aggressive interpretation of the laws to make the case against Mr. Edwards. Payments from political supporters to a third party may be improper but don't typically lead to a criminal indictment against a candidate, legal experts say.