John Edwards trial: No Rielle Hunter as prosecution rests

ByABC News
May 10, 2012, 4:57 PM

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The prosecution rested its conspiracy case against John Edwards in Greensboro, N.C., on Thursday without calling Rielle Hunter, his former mistress, ending speculation that she would be asked to testify against the former presidential candidate.

But Hunter, whose name appeared on witness lists submitted before the trial by both the defense and the prosecution, could be called by the defense.

Instead, the prosecution called Leo Hindery, Edwards' former economic policy adviser and founder of the New York Yankees' YES cable network, who testified that Edwards was angling for a job in a Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton White House while he was still in the race.

On Jan. 3, 2008, after Obama won the Iowa caucuses, Hindery said Edwards asked him to call Sen. Tom Daschle, an advisor to the Obama campaign, to trade Edwards' endorsement of Obama for the vice presidential slot

"He asked me to reach out to the Obama campaign and make clear his availability on the ticket," Hindery said.

According to Hindery, Daschle was perplexed by the timing of the offer: "You really want me to do this now?" Hindery recalled him saying.

After Obama rejected the offer, Edwards had Hindery contact the Clinton campaign later that month with a similar deal.

"If he couldn't be vice president," Hindery said, "he could be attorney general." Clinton also rejected Edwards' proposal.

Edwards, Hindery said, had eyes on the Supreme Court. "We talked about a more elaborate long-term goal of Mr. Edwards, which was to be a Supreme Court justice," Hindery said.

Earlier this week, Tim Toben, a former Edward aide who helped hide Hunter, testified that he arranged a meeting with the Obama campaign to warn them not to offer Edwards a job. Edwards, Toben said, had bragged to him about being offered a role in a potential Obama administration.

"I was alarmed," Toben said, according to Politico. "I couldn't believe what I had heard. I couldn't believe a man with a four-month-old baby by another woman was seriously considering running for vice president."

Hindery also testified that he asked Edwards about the affair rumors in December 2007, and believed the candidate when he said they were untrue.

Earlier Thursday, according to ABC News, Edwards "was overheard confidently asking his lawyer, 'That's their case?'"

The defense is expected to begin presenting its case on Monday.

Hunter lives in Charlotte with Frances Quinn, her daughter with Edwards. It's not clear whether she will testify.

Edwards faces six criminal counts--including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of making false statements--for allegedly soliciting and secretly spending over $925,000 to cover up his affair with Hunter. If convicted on all six counts, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Prosecutors are expected to finish presenting their case on Thursday.

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