Juror: No intention of flirting with Edwards
GREENSBORO (WTVD) -- The rumors about an alternate juror flirting with John Edwards were finally addressed the day after a jury found Edwards not guilty on one of the six charges he faced - an accusation he took an illegal campaign contribution.
Denise Speight, along with another alternate and three jurors, spoke candidly about their experience during an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" and ABC11 Friday morning.
Towards the end of the trial, the jury made headlines when the four alternate jurors began wearing matching colored shirts to court and Speight was said to be exchanging smiles with the former presidential candidate.
"I thought it was the funniest thing I have ever heard." Speight said. "Actually, I was giggling over, I think, the media's reaction, when we walked into the courtroom, over our outfits and color. No intention of flirting with John Edwards, and I don't think he had any intentions of blushing or flirting back with me," Speight said.
Following nine days of deliberations, juror Jonathan Nunn -- who is a maintenance technician at the University of North Carolina -- told ABC that he voted not guilty on all counts.
He also said votes during deliberations were "pretty weighted one way" and discussions got tense at times.
"Everybody's got their own beliefs based on what they saw," Nunn said. "They stood by their decision and I respect that. Twelve people, trying to get them to see eye to eye is going to be hard in any aspect. It was definitely a time-consuming deal, but in the long run, we done the right thing."
Others said there just wasn't enough evidence to convict Edwards of campaign finance violations.
"I felt like the evidence wasn't there, it could of been more ... than what it was," said juror Theresa Fuller, who also voted not guilty.
Juror Sheila Lockwood added that she did not think Edwards was guilty.
"I just didn't see guilt throughout the whole thing, because he never received a dime of the money for his own personal pocket," she said.
Edwards was accused of using about $1 million in undisclosed payments from campaign donors to cover up an affair during his 2008 White House bid.
The 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee had an affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, eventually fathering a child. Prosecutors contended that Edwards used money from donors far in excess of legal campaign limits to keep the dalliance under wraps.
Following years of adamant public denials, Edwards acknowledged paternity of Hunter's daughter in 2010.
Much of the undisclosed money was funneled to Andrew Young, a close aide to Edwards who left the campaign and falsely claimed paternity of the senator's illegitimate child. Young and his wife invited the pregnant Hunter to live in their home near Chapel Hill and later travelled with her as tabloid reporters sought to expose the candidate's extramarital affair.
Young was a key witness for the prosecution.
The main issue at the trial was whether Edwards knew about the payments made on his behalf by his national campaign finance chairman, the late Texas lawyer Fred Baron, and campaign donor Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, an heiress and socialite who is now 101 years old. Both had already given Edwards' campaign the maximum $2,300 individual contribution allowed by federal law.
Edwards denies having known about the money, which paid for private jets, luxury hotels, and Hunter's medical care. Prosecutors sought to prove he sought and directed the payments to cover up his affair, protect his public image as a "family man," and keep his presidential hopes viable.
Immediately after the verdict, the former presidential candidate came out, spoke with reporters in front of the federal courthouse in Greensboro, and thanked the jurors for their "hard work and diligence."
"All I can say is thank goodness we live in a country that has a system that we have," he said.
Edwards said that while he doesn't believe he did anything illegal, he did "an awful, awful lot that was wrong."
If convicted, Edwards faced a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and as much as $1.5 million in fines.
john edwards, inside politics
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