John Edwards Defense Dealt a Blow By Judge's Ruling


John Edwards Abruptly Rests His Case

Edwards' lawyers wrapped their case with introducing a Federal Election Commission memo that found the nearly $1 million in donations used to hide Edwards' mistress and love child were not campaign contributions, according to documents his defense team filed late Tuesday.

Edwards' lawyers asked the judge to admit an audio recording of the July 2011 FEC meeting when the audit was closed. Defense lawyers say the recording shows Commissioner Donald McGahn stating, "It's odd for me to say that the transaction is a campaign transaction" and "I'm not sure that [the monies paid by Mellon and Baron are] a reportable. Actually I can say [the monies are] not a report, in my view, not reportable."

The commission voted unanimously to close the audit.

The judge, however, refused to allow the jury to hear the audiotape.

One of those commissioners, Scott Thomas, was on the witness stand at Edwards' trial Tuesday morning. However, Eagles would not allow Thomas to tell jurors his view on how the law applied to what Edwards' allegedly did in 2007 and 2008. Eagles has said the jury should decide, without guidance from experts, what the purpose of the gifts were.

Edwards' lawyers also filed an opinion by the Justice Department's Election Crimes Branch that suggested the agency set aside one of its standing policies in campaign finance cases in order to seek Edwards' indictment.

"For such a criminal violation to occur, the application of the law to the facts of a matter must at the very least be clear, and there must be no doubt that the [Federal Election] Commission considers that the underlying conduct presents a [Federal Election Campaign Act] offense," Craig Donsanto wrote to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in a Jan. 16, 2009 letter.

A spokeswoman said the Justice Department declined to comment on the 2009 letter.

ABC News' Matthew Mendez contributed to this report

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