The Associated Press
says former U.S. Senator John Edwards would have faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if the case hadn't ended in a mistrial on whether he misused money to hide his pregnant mistress while he ran for president.
Edwards' attorneys said Edwards shouldn't be convicted for being a liar. They also said the money was used to keep the affair hidden from his wife, not to influence his presidential bid.
"This is a case that should define the difference between a wrong and a crime ... between a sin and a felony," attorney Abbe Lowell told the jury.
"John Edwards has confessed his sins. He will serve a life sentence for those."
"There is no one else responsible for my sins,” Edwards said Thursday on the courthouse steps."I am responsible. And if I want to find the person who should be held accountable for my sins, honestly I don't have to go any further than the mirror. It's me. It is me and me alone," he said, according to Reuters
Edwards' statement, verdict, and mistrial ended what the New York Times
called "one of the most scandalous chapters in the history of presidential campaigning."
I don't think God's through with me
"I don't think God's through with me," Edwards said of his future. "I really believe he thinks there's still some good things I can do," the AP
Of the good things he wants to do, is be a good dad. He began thanking each child for their devotion and understanding in his speech, but when he got to the daughter he had with his mistress Rielle Hunter, he choked up.
He expressed his love for “my precious Quinn,” the daughter he had with Hunter, "whom I love, more than any of you can ever imagine and I am so close to and so, so grateful for."
From the start, when The National Enquirer broke the story that Edwards had been having an affair, Edwards categorically declared it was "not possible" that the baby was his.
The former senator and presidential hopeful met Rielle Hunter, 45, in a New York hotel bar in 2006. Hunter became pregnant in the summer of 2007.
Hunter gave birth to daughter Frances Quinn in February 2008, a month after Edwards ended his bid for the presidency. She listed no name for the father on the birth certificate, which created further speculation about who it might be.
"I know that it's not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events, so I know it's not possible," Edwards told ABC
News in August 2008. "I'm happy to take a paternity test, and would love to see it happen."
But there was a reason why Edwards was happy to take a paternity test, his former aide Andrew Young said.
In an interview Young alleged that Edwards asked him to arrange a fake a paternity test.
"Get a doctor to fake the DNA results," Young said Edwards told him. "And he asked me ... to steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do a DNA test to find out if this [was] indeed his child."
Edwards announced he was the father of Francis Quinn Hunter on January 21, 2010, a week before Young's book about the affair called "The Politician" was due for release.
"I am Quinn's father," Edwards said in a statement
. "I will do everything in my power to provide her with the love and support she deserves."
Edwards said it was "wrong" that he denied he was the girl's father.
"I have been able to spend time with her during the past year and trust that future efforts to show her the love and affection she deserves can be done privately and in peace," Edwards' statement said, referring to the little girl.
"It was wrong for me ever to deny she was my daughter and hopefully one day, when she understands, she will forgive me."
The Justice Department offered no indication on whether it would retry Edwards.