U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles has selected 42 potential jurors for the criminal trial of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. The final step, culling the jury to 12 members plus four alternates, will begin on Monday morning, with the trial itself set to begin after that.
Jury selection in the highly anticipated trial began last week, with a large pool of 185 people summoned to the federal courthouse in Greensboro, N.C. Judge Eagles quickly excused about a quarter of those potential jurors, many of whom acknowledged following the case closely in the media. Prospective jurors were asked their opinions of Mr. Edwards, their views on adultery, and their political leanings.
Edwards has pleaded not guilty to all charges in a six-count indictment alleging his complicity in a conspiracy to solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars from two supporters during the 2008 presidential primaries. Prosecutors allege the funds, which were used in part to hide Edwards' pregnant mistress from the public, amount to illegal campaign contributions because the intent of the scheme was to influence an election for federal office.
Edwards was arrested last June after an investigation that took almost three years. He remains free on a personal recognizance bond and has been living at home with his two youngest children. His wife of 33 years, Elizabeth Edwards, died in December of 2010 after a prolonged battle with cancer.
If convicted on all counts, the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.