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Justice Department Is Dropping Case Against Edwards

The Justice Department is walking away from its case against John Edwards.

Federal prosecutors have announced they will not retry the former Democratic presidential candidate on campaign finance charges. The decision comes soon after jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Government lawyers asked Judge Catherine Eagles to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning they will not take another bite at the apple and try to resurrect their high profile case.

About two weeks ago, a federal jury in Greensboro North Carolina found John Edwards not guilty on one campaign finance charge.

The jurors couldn't reach a decision on five other counts that covered payments Edwards had accepted from friends to support his pregnant mistress.

Several jurors said they simply did not believe the government's central witness, Andrew Young, an aide who idolized Edwards and then grew disillusioned with him.

Update at 4:07 p.m. ET. Won't Retry 'In Interest Of Justice':

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division issued the following statement with the announcement:

"We knew that this case – like all campaign finance cases – would be challenging. But it is our duty to bring hard cases when we believe that the facts and the law support charging a candidate for high office with a crime. Last month, the government put forward its best case against Mr. Edwards, and I am proud of the skilled and professional way in which our prosecutors from the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina conducted this trial. The jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on five of the six counts of the indictment, however, and we respect their judgment. In the interest of justice, we have decided not to retry Mr. Edwards on those counts."

Update at 4:41 p.m. ET. Edwards Camp Statement:

Edwards' lawyers sent out a statement that reads in part:

"While John has repeatedly admitted to his sins, he has also consistently asserted, as we demonstrated at the trial, that he did not violate any campaign law nor even imagined that any campaign laws could apply. We are confident that the outcome of any new trial would have been the same. We are very glad that, after living under this cloud for over three years, John and his family can have their lives back and enjoy the peace they deserve."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.