John Edwards (D-NC), the 2004 Vice-Presidential nominee on the John Kerry ticket, is on trial for misappropriation of 2008 Presidential campaign contributions in order to support Rielle Hunter, his former lover and mother of his youngest child. This was going on while Edwards’ wife Elizabeth was was dying of cancer; a sordid affair. Edwards was offered a plea bargain that would have given him months of jail time, though he would have lost his law license; he could get 30 years. I suspect he turned down the deal because he thinks he can win in court. The crux of the matter is whether those payments to Hunter were actually campaign contributions.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Executive Director Melanie Sloan notes “Sen. Edwards’ conduct was despicable and deserves society’s condemnation, but that alone does not provide solid grounds for a criminal case. DOJ’s scattershot approach to prosecuting public officials is incomprehensible and undermines the integrity of the criminal justice system.”
The lead prosecution witness is Andrew Young (no, not this Andrew Young), and he has a lot of credibility issues. I believe Edwards will be found “not guilty.” If by some bizarre chance he is convicted, he’ll win on appeal.
After the initial procrastination, prosecutors decide to charge George Zimmerman with second-degree murder in the case of Trayvon Martin. They could have charged him with manslaughter or some other lesser charge. Because the Sanford, Florida police understood the law in a particular way on the night of the incident, the jury will never know, for instance, whether George Zimmerman had been drinking or on some other substance. Absent new evidence, I think Zimmerman will be found “not guilty.”
From the Los Angeles Times: “Less than a year before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Bros. plunged the global economy into a terrifying free fall, the Wall Street firm awarded nearly $700 million to 50 of its highest-paid employees… The documents, which were among the millions of pages submitted in Lehman’s bankruptcy, show the list of top earners each were pledged $8 million to $51 million in cash, stock, and other compensation. How much, if any, of the stock was cashed in before the bankruptcy wiped out its value couldn’t be determined. Still, the rich pay packages for so many people raised eyebrows even among compensation experts and provided fresh evidence of the money-driven Wall Street culture that was blamed for triggering the financial crisis.”
Now, why haven’t there been indictments in THIS situation? If you saw the CBS News program 60 Minutes on April 22, you have a pretty good idea. “Steve Kroft talks to the bank examiner whose investigation reveals the how and why of the spectacular financial collapse.” We discover that the Securities and Exchange Commission had staff IN the Lehman offices MONTHS before the disaster and apparently didn’t recognize what was going on. Perhaps this makes the case more difficult to prosecute. Will ANYONE from Lehman Brothers be indicted? Maybe, for show. Will anyone be convicted? I’m not holding my breath.