John Edwards Prepares For Opening Statements

5:19 PM, Apr 23, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the John Edwards trial presented opening statements in a federal courthouse on Monday. The U.S. government will attempt to prove the former presidential candidate violated federal campaign finance laws.

Edwards pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy supporters. Prosecutors say much of the money was used to hide Edwards' pregnant mistress during his 2008 campaign.

Prosecutors called Andrew Young to the stand first. Young is Edwards' former campaign aide and is expected to be the prosecution's star witness. On Monday, Young explained basic information about how he met John Edwards and Rielle Hunter. On Tuesday, Young is expected to explain more about the situations that led to the charges Edwards now faces.

Prosecutors will argue Edwards sought and directed a conspiracy to conceal his affair to keep his presidential hopes alive. Edwards denies violating the law or even knowing about the payments, which his lawyers describe as gifts.

The trial is expected to last at least six weeks.

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