The jury began deliberating on May 18 after a month of testimony, which at times sounded more like a steamy soap opera than a trial on the intricacies of campaign finance rules.
The government spent three weeks building its case. Much of it hinged on the testimony of Andrew Young, once Edwards' most loyal aide, who testified he collected $725,000 from Mellon, who disguised her contributions as payments for antique furniture.
The prosecution detailed the way Edwards met Hunter and how he worked throughout his campaign to keep the affair and, later, his love child a secret. The government said Baron, another wealthy backer who was once Edwards' campaign treasurer, contributed an additional $300,000 to move Hunter and her baby all over the country to keep them away from the media.
None of the principal witnesses in the case were ever called to testify. Baron died of cancer in 2008. Mellon is 101 years old. Neither Hunter not Edwards himself ever took the stand.
In just three days of defense testimony, Edwards' lawyers tried to portray Young as the mastermind of a plot to use Edwards' scandal to request funds for his own personal use. Any lies Edwards told, his lawyers said, were in an effort to keep the affair a secret from his wife, Elizabeth, who was dying of cancer, and not to advance his political career.
The panel of eight men and four women spent nine days and more than 50 hours deliberating, breaking only for lunch or when the judge ordered closed-door sessions to discuss issues with them.
The jurors themselves captured headlines in recent days when four alternate jurors began wearing color-coordinated outfits. The judge told those jurors on Thursday that they could return to their homes and not attend remaining sessions of the trial.
ABC News' Jason Ryan contributed to this report.