Jansing and Co | May 07, 2012
>>> the trial of former presidential candidate john edwards enters its third week today. the attorney for the heiress whose money is at the heart of the case will be back on the stand this morning for cross examination by the defense team. trial watchers are wondering whether edwards ' former mistress rielle hunter will be taking the stand and if she does will it be for the prosecution or for the defense? joined now by jack abramoff author of "capital punishment" and a client of edwards ' attorney and also joined this morning by katherine ross dunham a law professor at elam university. good morning to you both. katherine, i'll start with you. the trial ended friday with a cliff hanger for jurors to think about over the weekend. how significant is bunny mellon 's attorney revealing that edwards had acknowledged that the money earmarked to hide his mistress was for his benefit?
>> well, i think anything that shows john edwards had knowledge that the money from mellon and also fred barron was used to further the campaign is significant for the government. there is still the essential question though as to whether that money was a gift to john edwards personally or it was really being used for campaign purposes. edwards maintains the money was to hide the affair from his wife. so really we still don't know how that evidence is going to play out in the long run of the trial as the jury has to make a decision about who they believe.
>>> catherine , stand by for a minute. i'll come back in a bit. jack, your notorious black hat , it once came to essentially symbolize -- there it is right there. we found a picture for you. it came to for many symbolize washington corruption. edwards ' attorney as we mentioned was your lawyer. how does he go about making john edwards likeable, remotely likeable considering all of the details, the lurid details we have heard about that affair and the misbehavior?
>> well, i'm not certain john edwards can be made to be likeable. there is so much baggage there. i think, you know, i haven't talked about the trial with abby but i assume he'll stay focused on the issues before him, whether these were campaign contributions or gifts. it seems that the government has a pretty high barrier across to prove that they were campaign contributions . and i know that a lot of groups have been very concerned that the government is stretching the definition of campaign contributions including reform groups by the way and that that may not be the best thing in the world for all of us.
>> catherine , everyone waiting to see if edwards , if his mistress, rielle hunter, will take the stand. if you were advising the prosecution or defense at this point would you put her on?
>> i think that would be hard to answer if you hadn't interviewed her. it has a lot to do with how she would come off on the stand. however, both sides opened this case by saying, you know, you might not like john edwards . you might think he did some bad things. but it's not a crime. and it's not a crime to have an affair. so i don't know what impact having his mistress on the stand is really going to have on the government's burden.
>> jack, do you think he puts her on?
>> i think again it's dangerous. you don't know what she's going to say, what she's going to do. there have been some signs that maybe she is not as stable as some of the rest of us are and i think that's a risk. i think, again, the issue is going to come down to whether or not he broke the actual law, whether these were gifts or contributions and regardless of how odious he is, regardless of how, you know, we look at john edwards and think what a bad guy he is, look. i know myself i was the guy in the black hat , that it's hard to make a defense of yourself publicly on actual legal issues if everybody views you as a villain.
>> since all of that, you have, you know, tried to make over your image to a great degree. what advice would you give to john edwards after all of this is over assuming he is not in prison? what advice would you give about surviving and moving on after this trial?
>> well, just to find the things that he actually did do that were wrong. come out publicly apologize for them, try to have some introspection, try to have some humility. try to realize you're not god and you're not king as a lot of politicians think and frankly some lobbyists or former lobbyists thought. and realize you're just a regular guy and try to act like that. and make people believe it. and then hopefully one day people will start to see a different john edwards .
>> your perspective is certainly unique. jack abramoff always a pleasure. catherine ross dunham, thanks to you as well.