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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  May 31, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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gender of the fetus. political reports today that while these types of bills are often in committee, the leadership won't push for them to hit the floor because they want to focus on the economy. earlier on msnbc, house democrat sheila jackson lee said she is furious this bill is coming to a vote. >> i think the next act will be dragging women out of patient rooms into the streets and screaming over their bodies as they are dragged out of getting access to women's health care. that's what i feel like is during today. >> house speaker john boehner only had a short statement about why this is being brought up now. >> this is an important issue to the american people. this type of sex selection is, most americans find pretty repulsive. and our members feel strongly about it. it is why it is being brought to the floor. >> the bill's sponsor, arizona republican trent franks has been
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accused of targeting minorities in the bill. particularly asian-american women on the house floor, he did not deny it. >> a number of academic papers have now published evidence that the practice of sex selection abortion is increasing in the united states, especially but not exclusively in the asian-immigrant community. >> luke russert joins me live from capitol hill. dana milbank said they are struggling with latino voters and they may lose asian-american voters when you listen to what the congressman says, at least it is his evidence. there is plenty to counter that is happening here. >> reporter: let's look at this from a broad perspective here. this is a bill that sought to outlaw the abortion of a fetus based on sex. now this is not something that is very common in the united states. there's a lot of folk that would say they've rarely ever seen a case. what mr. franks is talking about is a paper from the university
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of texas is saying this happened a few thousand time in the earlier part of this decade. what's interesting is there is well known documentation in places like china and india, this sort of thing happening because of a preference for boys. because it is not in the united states, a lot of democrats are saying what is this connection here? really what republicans are saying, they're trying to prevent a war on women in the united states that could come in some conceivable notion and they're getting out in front of it. and this has been brought forward because of some conservative filmmakers went into planned parenthood. they had a hidden camera. they asked one employee at one planned parenthood if it was possible to have an abortion because of a gender, the woman kind of said yeah, we can do that. but we've talked with planned parenthood before. they're not trained in that situation because it is so uncommon in the united states. now this is being brought to the floor of the house today under suspension, which means it needs to get two-thirds of approval to pass in the house. we don't expect that to happen and even if that were to happen,
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it would surely be dead in the united states senate and would never be signed into law by president obama. it is more of anything, trying to get democrats to vote against this and make a campaign ad about it sometime closer to november. >> it is putting yet again the speaker in a precarious situation, it has been noted in several articles here that the house leadership really does not want to deal with this. they want to talk about the economy. but with that said, you've got speaker boehner saying this is an important issue to the american people and our members feel strongly about it. but we also know behind the scenes, they know that this kind of issue which is not going out of the house, won't go anywhere, is what some might call a distraction or more evidence that there is some kind of war on women. that some women out there perceive to be happening. >> i spoke to a gop aide earlier today and what they told me was, look, we have to feed our rank and file some red meat every now and then. this is some red meat for them to chew on. make no mistake. john boehner, eric cantor, even mitt romney, they don't want to
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have to comment on these issues. they would much rather talk about the economy. they think that's the best way for them to get reelected into the fall and the house and win the presidency. honestly, this one in particular, you would be hard pressed in independent outlets have mentioned this, to find this happening in a widespread manner in the united states, very, very rare if at all. >> all right. a new poll out by the kaiser family foundation shows about a third of women believe there is a so-called war on women. 31% agree that there is a wide scale effort to limit reproductive choices. 45% say there is an effort to curb those choices but it is not wide scale. 7% believe there is no effort. >> thank you both for joining us. you heard luke say there is some republican who's believe you have to throw a little red meat out here. here is a bill and if you look at the evidence out there, this
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problem does not exist in the united states. china, yes, india, maybe, but not the united states where women are going in and deliberately aborting fetuses that are girls. >> right. what they're trying to do is force a situation where they can run ads and say democrats are waging the real war on women because they want people to be able to abort girl babies. the truth is in the countries that you mentioned which is not the concern of the united states congress, in the countries that you mentioned, the only thing that has worked to curtail sex selective abortion or sex selection at the ivf stage is gender equality. curtailing women's rights won't lead to gender equality which is the only thing in places where sex selective abortion exists has changed anything. >> when you look at the number, a third women believe there is a war on women. whether those who have called it silly or this is like, i believe, reince priebus said it's like there is a war on caterpillars. the number show something is resonating. when we start the hour with a bill that is on the house floor
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right now addressing a problem that according to research doesn't exist, related to women terminating pregnancies. and it strikes fear in doctors who perform terminations. >> the doctor concern is a big issue. we're on the third anniversary today. this law, if this bill became law it would impose a penalty of up to a year in prison for a doctor for performing a quote/unquote sex selective abortion. it forces doctors to have to police the choices of their patients, especially their asian-american patients, and further intimidates doctors to a point in which they're already under siege. >> i was noting what dana milbank from the "washington post" noted. he said republicans long ago lost african-american voters. they're well on their way to losing la teen overs. if trent frank prevails, they may lose asian-americans, too. specifically note asian-american women in his concern that this
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selective gender abortions are happening. >> that's exactly it. at the end of the day, if these republicans continue at this rate they're going to lose women voters and asian voters and mitt romney needs all those coalitions to win or to beat the president. and i don't think he will have that. this bill is only totally totally repressive to women but this bill is also completely nonsensical. there are so many other things congress should focus on like maybe the buffett rule, maybe passing the violence against women's act. instead they want to focus on a select number of abortions that happen in this country. it shows what their priorities are. >> let me play a little of what went down on the house floor yesterday when this was being debated. let's play it, please. >> this is the ultimate war on women, mr. speaker. if we don't allow women to be born, we cannot talk about any other rights. >> you talk about a war on women. this is a war oathics. woe to you. >> let's not forget that planned
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parenthood aborts approximately 330,000 children every year. this, mr. speaker, is the real war on women. >> these were republicans yesterday on the house floor. we heard obviously from sheila jackson lee. the rhetoric is as hot as the topic and perhaps it should be when you again look at some of the things being said from this congressman who also said that at one point, african-american women were also terminating their babies, based on race. some things that i think people would find outlandish and offensive to say the least there. but nonetheless, this is still going on. right now on the house floor. >> that's the sad part. it is actually happening on the house floor. at the end of the day, if there was a war on women, if we wanted to solve the problem, all the people co-sponsoring this bill voted against the lilly ledbetter act which allowed women to get fair pay for a day of work.
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they want to repress a woman's uterus. this is exactly what they believe. they're bwilling to vote on thi. we know they won't get a two-thirds majority so this bill will never become law in this country. that's the greatest thing to be thankful for. >> how does race get tied up in this? with one swoop, this congressman has offended some women and you've got african-americans and asian-americans now tied up in it as well. >> until recently, this bill was trying to criminalize and shame african-american women but accusing them of genocide in the african-american community for their choices for their bodies. this is really divisive politics. it is trying to be able to say that pro-choice people want to abort baby girls which is absolutely a falsehood. and it is just cheap bottle. >> obviously they need two-thirds vote to get this thing passed here. that's expected not to happen. what it has done yet again is to bring the conversation to what are the priorities of the house
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republicans? is it the economy as luke russert is reporting? many in the leadership are saying, or is it to bring issues like this where there is at least no evidence that has been pointed out is a real problem in this country. women specifically aborting fetuses that are girls in an attempt to gender select their child. we'll continue to follow this and bring you the very latest on the vote. thank you. to developing news out of boston. a federal appeals court there has ruled the heart of the defense of marriage act which denies federal benefits to married same sex couples is unconstitutional. the ruling is likely to take case all way to the u.s. supreme court. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams joins me now from washington, d.c. pete, this was breaking news only a couple hours ago and obviously it is one of those topics that's trending. >> it is up to the defenders of the defense of marriage act. they have the option of appealing to the full appeals
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court or taking it to the supreme court but it seem inhe have tabl it will be going to the supreme court. the question is not whether a state must recognize the right of same sex couples. the question is if a state does so, can the federal government refuse to recognize marriages in only those states? and the federal appeals court said today in a 3-0 decision with two republican appointed judges in the majority here in the unanimous court that it is unconstitutional. and it said that congress really didn't provide a good enough reason for intruding into an area that is typically one for the states to define what marriage is. the denial of the federal benefits affects things like tax law, affects veterans benefits. roughly 1,000 kinds of federal benefits. what the appeals court said today is that none of the defense that's the government had originally offered and that the people defending the law really offered really hold up when you're dealing in an area that is traditionally one of the state jurisdiction. preserving scarce resources, the court said, that you need to
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have a better distinction when you're dealing with a group that historically disadvantaged. the defenders of the law said it is important to support child raising in a stable marriage. but the court said doma, the defense of marriage act, doesn't do anything to increase rights to opposite said couple and they said disapproval isn't enough of a reason. this is one that the federal government declined to defend the law in the appeals court. so republicans in the house hired a lawyer. they've been defending it. it is their move to decide where to appeal it to the court of appeals or to the u.s. supreme court. this issue could be before the supreme court in the coming term that begins in october. >> another big possible decision from the court. thank you very much, people. see what happens next. coming up, is another obama surrogate causing a problem for the president? >> bain is a perfectly fine company. they've got a role in the private economy. and the rnc pounce right on
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those comments from governor deval patrick. they're comparing him to cory booker. >> it is not perfect. it is not the only answer. it is be the only cause of people being overweight. we have to do something. >> fresh new comments from michael bloomberg, the mayor of new york city about the city's proposal to ban jumbo sugary drinks. some say this is going way too far. guess what, you can tell us what you think. join our conversation on my twitter page. what do you think of the ban on jumbo drinks? yoo-hoo. hello. it's water from the drinking fountain at the mall. [ male announcer ] great tasting tap water can come from any faucet anywhere.
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the brita bottle with the filter inside.
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another obama surrogate aiming for mitt romney hit the president instead. this time it was governor deval
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patrick. on morning joe, governor patrick took a few hits at romney but also defended bain capital. >> i think that the bain strategy has been distorted in some of the public discussion. bain is a perfectly fine company. they've got a role in the private economy and i've got a lot of friends there and on both sides of the aisle. i don't think bain is the point. >> immediately after that rnc deputy communications director tim miller tweeted, hostage tape imminent. massachusetts governor deval patrick, a democrat, praises romney and bain capital. the hostage tape, of course, a reference to new york mayor cory booker's comments. and joining us, the new york political panel. a syndicated radio talk show host michael smerconish is with us. and managing editor, thank you both. we greatly appreciate you joining us. is it fair? is deval patrick another cory
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booker in this sense? >> i think the timing could not be worse for the obama campaign. despite the tightening of the polls, when you get to the internals, they show that mitt romney is still largely ill defined for many voters. so at a time when the campaign has been trying to craft the narrative first of romney at the helm of bain, and now more recently as the governor of massachusetts, to have the governor of massachusetts say what he said about bain, it creates such an opportunity for the rnc which they're already taking to respond in kind. so i think it is a significant issue. >> what is the problem here? are the surrogates at least in these two cases not believing that the bain attack are worthy? cory booker all but said that. that it was nauseating here. what is the problem? >> i think the problem is that if you watch the campaign reel thus far of out of work employees, of pension funds that
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appear to have been looted and so forth, the image that it could not injures up is of a very predatory form of capitalism. it was headed by mitt romney and here's deval patrick, or here's cory booker saying that's not entirely accurate. it is a hard subject to condense into 20 second sound bites but that's the world in which we live and i think it gives fodder to romney that he wouldn't have had otherwise from people on the obama team. >> i know you have to get back to your callers. listeners of your very popular show. >> i'll bring you in to talk about this. mitt romney holding an event in front of solyndra. talk about red meat. let me play a little bit of what mr. romney had to say and we'll talk about this stunt. >> this building, this half a billion dollar taxpayer investment represents a serious conflict of interest on the part of the president and his team. it is also a symbol of how the
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president thinks about free enterprise. free enterprise to the president means taking money from the taxpayers and giving it freely to his friends. >> there you have it. romney at solyndra. david axelrod and supporters of the president in massachusetts trying to focus on his record. what do we make of this? >> let me talk about solyndra first. this is the lowest, cheapest blow. solyndra and the failed loan that it represents is 1% of the energy department's loan portfolio. a lot of people would argue we need more support for alternative energy. one of the reasons it went under is because the chinese own the manufacturing sector because they give it a lot of support. >> republicans seem to believe, and oxley because romney is there, they believe there's some traction. we know perhaps with the base. but with independents, does this solyndra issue and some republicans say the bain issue, that it doesn't bring support for either of the men here who need that support?
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>> i think the swimming states will come down to the economy. i think it will be a broader conversation. it will be about jobs numbers. those are out tomorrow. it will be the overall discussion about where to take this economy and on that score, polls show that most people think obama still has the better idea. >> speaking of polls, we have a new nbc news marist poll out. it shows what we talked about all along in some key battleground states. it's a tight race. they're tied at 44% in iowa. president obama has a one-point lead in colorado, a two-point lead in nevada. we suspected it would be at this point as people again are not necessarily engaged but certainly in the days, weeks, months ahead we could possibly see all of this change. >> absolutely. i think it will be a tight race. i think obama is in a better position than he was six months ago in term of the economy which will be the big issue. he has to hope that world events, what's going on in europe, what's going on with oil prices don't overtake him in the fall and our first read team matches what the campaign is seeing. everything is tightening. the president has spent more
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time in ohio, virginia, then colorado, iowa and nevada. they say it shows in these number. >> i think also some of these states again are very high unemployment states. people are trying to consolidate. who has the better position on where to take the economy. are we better off than a few years ago? it come down to the incumbent's record. this is such a strange moment in the global economy. we have to see who can consolidate their jobs plan and momentum the best. >> thank you. i've been told we have big news right now to report to you. there is a verdict in the john edwards trial in north carolina. i think we have john q. kelly who is standing by with the very latest. thanks to you for getting in here. we've waited. this is the ninth day. we've heard back and forth of the jury wanting more information. there was a mysterious note. we knew today they were at least an extra half-hour through the lunch. now we've got a verdict. but the ninth day.
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people are wondering whether this is good news or wad news for the person who wanted to be president of this country. >> going out on a limb, i think it is relatively good news. i think they may convict him of one or two counts but there are indications going back to yesterday when the judge let four alternates go that they were close to a verdict at that time. most telling was when they went to work through lunch and they want to get this wrapped up. i think if they reach a not guilty on the first four counts, it is clearly not guilty on the other counts of false statements and conspiracy. if those really, if they're considered less like the judge instructed, they went through those pretty quickly. >> you've followed this case as well. john edwards if convicted, all six counts, faces 30 years in prison. $1.5 million in fines. there are four counts that he received illegal contributions, one count of conspiracy, one count of false statements. when you look and hear what the court insiders say, a, we've never seen a case like this.
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and the prosecution had to prove that in this case, john edwards was using this money for his gainful that his presidential aspirations, all of this, as opposed to trying to cover up a mistress which is what his defense is saying. in so many words, he may be a jerk but he was not using the money. you've heard this come from these court analysts. this is a guy who may have had an affair which is certainly a question of his moral standing. but whether or not he committed a crime is what is at the heart of this. >> i think that's right. just summed it up. it is a one off sort of a case. we've been thinking over these weeks and months how to cover this and it is so individual. it is a sad, long sordid tale and i think we're all grateful it is almost at an end. >> again, this is so much about his fall from grace. here was this man who dreamed of being the president, a senator, a bright future in the world of politics to say the least. and to watch this crumbling structure of a family.
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the impact of that. but also, he could end up in jail. a man who ran for president and a lot of supporters had high hope for him. >> absolutely. it just shows you how much can change in politics and the course of a few months and years. >> john, let me bring you back in on the legal issues. the prosecution, according to some insiders, had a tough road ahead. we've not seen anything like this in court and it was a daunting task in some ways for this jury. >> you know, it is novel. you don't often find presidential candidates with mistresses on the side that have children out of wedlock. so in that sense it is. i think one of the main things edwards had going for him was sort of a subtle sympathy factor in the sense, not for him but for his family. i think people saw he had fallen so far, so publicly and hurt and betrayed so many people that the only people left to be hurt were his direct family right now. he has been dragged through the mud. he's been totally humiliated.
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and it is like the barry bonds trial. the roger clemens trial. did they or did not they lie? ultimately who cares? it is a one off, very isolated thing. and doesn't have any impact on our lives. >> evidencewise though for the prosecution, what do you believe is the strongest point they made? >> i think the single strongest point was the 2008 money where fred was talking to elizabeth edwards with john edwards in the room. and acknowledged that he was putting up the money to move rielle around, to as he put it, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. he didn't want it made public that she was out there with his child and was his mistress while they were still trying to mount a presidential campaign. >> what did they need to prove here regarding the money and the use of it? i think by all accounts, as i pointed out to rihanna and we heard from the defense, there is no question there was an affair. there is a child and there was an attempt to cover this up so
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that elizabeth edwards would not have her heart broken by this being all dragged out here. at issue, whether this campaign money was used in a legal manner. >> that's it. the question was either, edwards illegally took the money to conceal his illicit affair, to maintain his presidential aspirations. that would be the prosecution theory. or it was private donations from friends that were trying to help him keep up his relationship from his wife and nobody else and keep her from being humiliated in public. i think the problem comes in on the time line at some point that elizabeth edwards did know about the affair and the money was still pouring in. >> andrew young, a form he aide to john edwards, was supposed to be the star witness. put all the pieces together. after his testimony, that was not a clear event. wasn't clear that actually happened. it was even questions whether or not he was a weak witness after
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all. he ended up testifying some of that money, he went to buy a mansion of his own. >> that's it. then it begs the question, was he allowed to keep a great deal of that money because he was doing the ultimate accommodation? he was squirrelling rielle hunter around. he was falling on the sword for john edwards. whether rielle was getting the money directly or it was going to andrew young to be the principal player in the cover-up should not matter that much. he was not the kind of witness you want off the on the stand. he sort of reeked of incredulous testimony some of the time and vindictiveness. >> we're being told right now, for those of you watching, that there is a verdict in the john edwards trial here. we're at a time line possibly of about another ten more minutes before everyone is inside. and we could learn the fate of
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john edwards. rana, you're still here with me. i want to talk about the larger image here again. there's so much said about campaign financing, where this money goes, what can be done with this money. there is even allegations. congressman ron kirk, his ex-wife just filed a complaint related to her allegations that he used money to give to a mistress. now co-end up in prison for the rest of his life. >> john edwards is way over here on the spectrum but there is a bigger issue. the super pac issue. what's happened with the way it is funded. it is a real hot button issue. >> when you look at the amount of money that he was funneling, if you will, to rielle hunter, the motivation of that. we know there is a great amount of money that was being sent
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this woman's way to keep their affair and that child that we see in the video there a secret. >> absolutely. i think it will be interesting to see what the long tale of this case is as they tease out the details. >> let me bring you back on. the make-up of the jury, eight men, four women by profession. you have the financial consultants, special education teacher, a corporate vice president, retired accountant. a lot of people with so-called white collar jobs here. some of that would be very necessary when you look at the complexity and what they need to decide here. perhaps that's why it's taken nine days. >> the jury make-up in any case is complex. a lot of things that come in to play. even with the four women on the jury, you always, women judge women more harshly. they may look not at john edwards as the villain but rielle hunter as the villain.
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he's paid his dues and the ultimate sins were committed by her. likewise with the men, they may feel more sympathetic. at a certain level, or you just don't know exactly how that will cut. you have to see what the answers were and those jurors are on there. whether it is the prosecution, the defense wanted them or they both saw something fair and impartial in all 12 of them. >> back to john edwards, if he's found not guilty, life will never be the same and certainly if he's found guilty life will never be the same. we learned a lot about his political aspirations. at one point there was testimony by andrew young who said that he wanted to be to poverty what al gore was to the environment. he talked about his plan to solicit $50 million donation from the heiress to combat poverty. a lot of talk was about his political aspirations and how almost there was a delusional
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state. when the world was crumb go when around them. when the public learned of what was really going on. >> i think this is clearly a man that has some personality issues, some truth issues. in terms of what his future holds, regardless, i don't see rehabilitation here. americans have a really high tolerance. a lot of people can come back from scandal. i don't think that this person is going to be one of them. >> let me bring in correspondent pete williams. obviously talk more about what the jury faced here and helping our audience understand. here we are on the ninth date of deliberations. so much has been said regarding the task at hand for this jury and that this was in a sense unprecedented and they would have to look at some complex information to make the decision. >> right. the question here is whether john edwards knew that these were illegal campaign contributions. that's the heart of the government's case. that he accepted the money,
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knowing that it was illegal. so it is sort of a two-step process. was the contributions, they were illegal because they exceeded the federal limit is the government's theory here. that there is a limit to how much money you can give to a campaign for federal office and the government's theory is that these two people who gave the contributions, that they gave the contributions knowing they were illegal and he accepted them knowing they were illegal. so there are many steps they had to go to to reach that question. but you know, you've talked about what happens if john edwards is found not guilty. if he is found guilty, you can be sure that his lawyers will appeal. this theory that the federal government used in bringing this case in the first place was very controversial. some former members of the federal elections commission said they believe the government was wrong about this. that the money contributed to the edwards campaign was not in a strict sense a contribution. that it was money spent to help him personally and that they viewed the case law here and court decisions as putting this
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outside the restrictions of federal law. so for all those reasons, it was complicated. the multistep process the jury had to go through and then just the very idea that the government brought the prosecution in the first place. so if this is a guilty verdict, you can be certain it will be appealed. and i would not guess what the federal appeals courts would do with it. i don't think the answer is at all clear. >> to your point, there were at love court watchers, experts, legal folks, who question out loud whether this should have ever been brought to trial. you had a lot of talk about this star witness who seemed to melt away on the stand. having to admit that he spent more than a million dollars of the money purchasing a home for his own family. in so many ways it seemed to not carry the heat after he made the television rounds and written
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the book and so on and so forth. the government didn't charge either of them. mr. barren had died by the time they brought the charges and bunny mellon was over 100 years old. you can understand why the government didn't accuse them of an illegal contributions. that's just another thing about this case that was unusual. then the evidence in the trial indicated that andrew young who was given the money to take charge of and to try to conceal the fact that john edwards had a mistress, the evidence at the trial was he spend a lot of it on himself. not on john edwards. that's another thing that has complicated the task. you have the law itself about how the federal law works and then you have the question of how it was applied in this case and this multistep process. i say the jury had to go through as they look at how this money worked its way from the donors to the campaign and ultimately
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to john edwards' mistress. that's one of the many reasons why it has been a difficult chore for the jury. >> pete william. thank you very much. let me bring in john to talk about the legal aspect. you heard pete talk about you had members of the federal election commission who testified that the law was not broken. how strong is that for the defense? >> very strong. i think pete is right. there's no question if edwards is convicted on even a single down, he'll be allowed to stay out on bail pending appeal. no question it will go to the federal appeals court. and i think it would go to the u.s. supreme court, too, that such a serious legislation -- legislative question at issue that the supreme court would agree to hear it regardless of what the federal appeals court decides. i want, as a little aside, thinking about it. the courtroom itself right now is something that is probably very interesting. the tension in their.
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the anxiety. there are very few things that are more anxiety producing than waiting the last couple minutes for a verdict to come in in a case like this. >> when you look at the counts, as i pointed out. six different counts here. how does that work? you see with the rachel bunny mellon person. you have the false statements, could be sealing a matter of fact. also the conspiracy. are all of these connected? >> i think they can reach a clear and distinct verdict. the rachel mellon counts are counts two and three. one was for her contributions in 2007 and one was for 2008. i think he will probably be acquitted of those because in 2006, she had sent a letter committing up to $1 million to edwards' campaign for personal
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use, including haircuts. so i think that that is edwards' strongest defense right there. the baron counts in 2007 and 2008. the only indication we have that edwards knew about the contributions in 2008 was the conversation where both edwards' wife and baron were all in the room acknowledging that rielle was being kept out. as far as the false statements, he can acquitted of that and the conspiracy counts and be convicted on one of the other counts. the bunny money or the baron money. >> i'm at the list of charge and the counts of what the jury will read here. and the count one, accepted and received illegal campaign contributions in 2007 from rachel mellon. they will find guilty or not guilty on that. is there a venue -- >> that's the second count.
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the guilty or not guilty of that which is count six. it seem with all of the cover-up and all of the lack of disclosure there. >> death only way to convict on counts 6 would be to convict him on counts 2, 3, 4, 5. he had to knowingly have accepted a false campaign contributions or illegal campaign contribution. then he would have to deliberately seek to conceal that with the false statements. if they acquit him of counts two, three, four, five, i don't think they can convict him on count six. the last count is count one, the conspiracy count. if he is acquitted of the
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illegal campaign contributions, he won't be convicted of conspiring with others if he is acquitted of those charges. >> we know the verdict will be read by the clerk starting with count two, as you mentioned. three, four, five, six, and ending with count one. again, we or at least i have not been provided with the latest time line. we've been told the announcement would come. there was a verdict with the jury. 15 minutes later, we would have that verdict. you see there, it is pretty quiet in front of the courtroom in north carolina. there's not a great. a activity. we've seen john edwards day in and day out, walk in. there's been a lot of reporting about his demeanor. you would see that former presidential candidate. as the days ticked on, the reporters who covered the story indicated that there was a broken man walking in and out of the doors, despite the decision that would come down from the jury in this case. a decision that we do not know
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at this point. let me bring back rana from "time" magazine on this. it is interesting. in so many ways you look at his career. chris matthews talked about this so much. this fall of grace. this man who again, had such high hopes and down to the very end, there was conversation. at least according to his aide where he thought he would be selected, maybe to be the attorney general. that despite all of what the public had learned, it was still fueling, ego or what there. >> i think you used the word delusional. i think there's some of that. it is hard to imagine how he could square reality with his hopes and ambitions. it puts me in mind of the kind of overall political system we have and the kind of person that gravitates toward these jobs. i think it is a very difficult environment. not to excuse his behavior. i think it may attract people with dreams of grandeur. >> rielle hunter never took the stand. elizabeth edwards, i'm sorry,
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the daughter of elizabeth and john edwards also never took the stand in this case. and there was a lot of conversation over that. how much would his daughter be able to provide even though she did not work with her father. certainly, rielle hunter. that came as a big surprise to so many that she did not make it to that stand. what is your take there? >> i don't think it was a surprise so much as disappointment. everybody want to see her on the stand. everybody wanted to hear her on the stand. she didn't add much to the charges one way or the other and she would be a wild card. people were dying to see her take the stand and testify. but as far as impact on the case, i don't think her testimony was necessary. >> it may not have been necessary but would it have been the proper downer to andrew young, especially, when you hear court analysts discuss how he all but fizzled out when he was on the stand? >> if he fizzled, i think rielle would have exploded, quite
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frankly. the defense didn't call her because she would be seen as a while card. the prosecution, she's a wild card. i want to go back to what rana was talking about. that people like john edwards are just delusional. here's a man who in early 2007, in this day and age of cell phones and cyber snooping and everything else, knew the "national enquirer" were on to him and his affair. to think that he could sort of beat the system, conceal this and keep on with his presidential aspirations just defies logic. why the man wouldn't pack his bags and go home rather than try to conceal it from an entire country is just beyond me. >> let me go back time line wise to some of the things. it was may 11th that the judge refused to dismiss the charges. edwards and his team pushed for that last time before this went to deliberations. they tried to get this thrown out all together, challenging the law in that state and saying
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that in so many words, yes, moral wrongs were made here but as far as the letter of the law, they tried to prove that their client shouldn't have even been brought to trial. this case should not have been brought to trial. >> first of all they wanted to make sure they made that motion to preserve it on appeal. they had to make their motion to dismiss after the prosecution case. they wanted to show that they claim that taking the evidence in its best light, the prosecution failed to make out a prima facie case. saying there was no indication that john edwards personally had knowledge or intent with regard to any of these charges. so they were doing their charge. they had to make sure they went through every charge. every factual piece of evidence that went. this is going to be a long complicated appellate process.
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>> we're minutes from being told the verdict. i'm just at the instructions and how this will play out. you know this much better than i. with your legal background. thumbing through these papers, this will not be a guilty/not guilty move on. this is very complicated down by down here. >> yeah. and there's no, like you said, there is no quick answer. he has to be concerned at least through counts two, three, four, and five that by hearing not guilty on count two, that he is safe on the other counts, too. they're all distinct charges. the four four they'll decide on stand or fall separately. i think the last two will follow suit. the first four, it's a crap shoot. >> let me bring in david mark with politico. with edwards and his attorney, they're saying he did not
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knowingly break campaign finance laws. we noted they tried to get the case thrown out completely. what is the strongest part, i guess, of the puzzle presented by his defense team here? >> probably andrew young. this one time protege. the guy who worked for him for many years. seemed to profit off his service with john edwards. i think that's the argument. the edwards' lawyers were putting forward in their remarks, their closing remarks and i think a lot will hinge on what happened. what the jury thinks about andrew young's credibility. >> that is so interesting. andrew young was the guy who allegedly tried to hide the sex tape that never surfaced. he had written a book. the part that came out at least in court was he used a great am of this money to buy a home or build this mansion for his own family. money that was allegedly men for, you know, rielle hunter. >> right. that he is still living in today, i believe that was established in the trial. that did not work to his
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credibility. also the lawyers for john edwards were simply saying he did what anybody, any other guy would have done. he lied to spare his family from embarrassment. it was not meant to cover up illegal campaign cash. that's the crux of this case. that's what the jury will presumably make their decisions on. >> with mr. edwards' noted legal background, there was some talk of whether he would take the stand. obviously, when you hear the details of his behavior, that might certainly set off emotions for men and women alike. but knob the less, his behavior as a man was not in question here. it is whether or not he broke the law. he didn't take the stand here. we know that. >> right. and he was under no obligation to. it might turn out to be smart legal decision by his lawyers not to put him on there. that of course is always risky but they felt loib it was in their legal best interests not to go down that route. they didn't want to open him up
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for cross-examination. >> pete williams was here with me a short time ago. our justice correspondent and one of the many things he noted which was an excellent point regarding this federal election commission here's felt that the law had not been broken. the campaign finance law had not been violated by john edwards' actions to use this money, to hide this mistress. that he was not political gain here. there has been a lot of conversation about whether or not this should even be here. that perhaps this was fueled by the fame or the notoriety of the person in the court. we're seeing people rush out right now. obviously to report the news. i am waiting, david. i'm not sure if you can see our screen but i assume these are reporters who are rushing out. we have a verdict here. guys? what do we have? we do not have anything yet. we see a flurry of activity that we have not seen. i believe reporters rushing out so we'll bring you any information as soon as i get it here.
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nonetheless, back to john edwards. and just a little more of his life. we heard a lot about his aspirations. his ambitions. his ego. okay. what we have -- let me put you on hold, david. john, down three. right now, count three. what do we have? we have a unanimous vote on count three only but i do not know what that decision is. count three is that he accepted and received illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from rachel bunny mellon. the very wealthy been factor, a woman who believed in his political career and is at the heart of this -- john, we're being told right now. the judge has sent them back into the jury room. what does this mean? >> i've never heard of this. it appears the jury may have told the judge they reached a verdict. i.e., a verdict on one count and
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didn't think to mention to him they hadn't reached a verdict on the other five counts, it sounds like from what i'm seeing here in the studio. >> hang on. gabe gutierrez is standing by. ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the frab particular nature of this. this is all very unusual. gabe is standing by live. what can you tell me is going on there? >> reporter: that's exactly right. this is very bizarre. we expected to hear a verdict on all six counts, or at least some sort of information about what the jurors had been deciding. as you mentioned, they've only reached a verdict on count three. that is down that relates to the campaign contributions given by rachel bunny mellon to john edwards back in 2008. we don't know why the jury decided on that count in particular and not count two which also had to deal with the so-called bunny money a year before in 2007. some of the media was assembled in an overflow courtroom and as soon as that decision was read in court, many of us ran out to
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report this news. just within the past few seconds this happened. as we mentioned, the jury has been placed back. has been told to leave the courtroom. so we're still trying to figure out what this means and how much longer they may deliberate on the other five counts. >> gabe, let me get to you stand by. john, your legal background is necessity point. >> i've never seen it in my background, quite frankly. the only way they could have done that would be if they indicated to the judge they had a partial verdict and the judge agreed and the attorneys on both sides agreed to take a partial verdict if they were dead locked on theize. it seemed the jury totally blind sided the court and the attorneys on both sides on this. it has to be chaos right now. one other thing, i'm sure that the judge was panic stricken almost trying to cut them off from delivering the verdict on that one count when they had not reached the verdict on the others. >> they've reached some kind of
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verdict. it would not be known that -- six counts here and they've come back with a unanimous decision on one? that would not be known? >> every other time in every instance i've heard about or read about, yeah. you let the court know you have a partial verdict. you get the approval to come in with the partial verdict. everybody knows they'll hear a partial verdict. this was somehow the jury decided or determined that if they had reached a unanimous verdict on even one count, that it was appropriate to notify the court. >> one count out of six. okay. we do >> they asked with. the case be tossed out. you have questions of whether this should be brought to trial. we were talking a day ago about whether they were dead locked. this jury was supposed to work a half day tomorrow or cut it short so some of them can attend graduations and other events in their lives here. john, what happens? or is this just all up in the air and we're waiting for it to
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fall to the ground? >> it is not up in the air. the jury will be send back. they'll say that's terrific. you reached a decision on one count. you have five counts to go. there has been no indication from them. we might get that shortly that they're in total disagreement and there are irreconcilable differences. >> would that be the indication if they've come back with one count here a unanimous decision on one count. does that not paint a picture of some kind of disarray or some greater problem here with the jury? >> well, there's certainly not unanimous agreement. the question would be whether they're still discussing the other five counts and can't reach a unanimous agreement on those. as i said, irreconcilable differences. they won't be able to reach a verdict on the other five. either way they'll have to enlighten the court by the end of the day. >> let me bring in pete williams. thank you, pete, for making more
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time for us. john q. kelly, an experienced attorney saying he's never heard or seen anything like this. >> we just had a u.s. supreme court decision here the other day involving something similar. when a jury can only reach a decision on part of the counts, and there is a mistrial declared, now we don't know what will happen here. apparently there is a little break here and the judge will decide what to do. the question that will arise is if the federal government decides to retry this case, and i don't think that's by any means a certainty, but if they do, can the government try again on the count on which the jury has already reached a verdict if the verdict is not guilty? a similar question arose. a case just decided by the supreme court and they said, you have to start all over again. you can't take a not guilty
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finding on one of the counts out of the mix. but let me come back to what i just glossed over. that is the question of, in this is a hung jury. if there is a mistrial here and we don't know the answer to that. if there is, then the justice department is going to have to decide whether to retry this case. and i don't think that is by any means a certainty for some of the same issues we've been deciding here. number one, the controversial nature of this case. you know, the experts thought this was not a good application of the law. clearly the jury is struggling with it, too. but there's been a seed change in how campaigns are financed since this case was brought. that's the whole rise of super pacs, which have made the kind of money that was involved in here look like piker's change. that has changed the landscape of funding campaigns which make it, one could argue, a little harder for the government to justify bringing this case for the reasons that were originally cited. which was to send a message that
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they didn't want the corrupting influence of money in campaigns. it is a different landscape here and i think that's a factor that would have to enter into the federal government's calculus when it decides, if it decides to seek a new trial and continuing my string of ifs here, if there is a mistrial here. so it is by no means certain. i guess in a summary way to say that the government, if there is a mistrial, would try to do this again. we're ahead of the game here. we don't know whether the judge will tell the jury, keep going. >> and ahead of the game, many people are reeverywhere. what game were you playing at this point when you look at what's happened here? a unanimous decision on down three. accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from rachel bunny mellon. we don't know -- >> stop right there. because the interesting thing is, the jury apparently can't reach a verdict on count two which was the bunny mellon contributions from the year before. from 2007. >> that's exactly what i was
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thinking. i'm so him a you noted that. because what was the difference in 2008, which is count three, and the difference in 2007, count two, that they could reach a decision in one year and not the other. >> we don't know why. obviously there are different amounts of money. the moinl ever money was handled in different ways. every contribution, every check that was written was handled in a slightly different way. so there are certainly evidentiary factors that would enter into this. it should tell the government something that after all this time, the jury is having this really, really struggling with this. >> i know you have to get going. i greatly appreciate you coming on with your insight information as well. let me quickly go back to john here. you heard pete make the point radaring count three. the contribution in 2008. we don't know why nothing came back with count two. the money from rachel mellon as well. but a different year here. so this adds to the mystery.
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we talked about a mystery note yesterday coming from the jury. the mystery surrounding what's going on today with this jury. >> the difference between the 2007 money and the 2008 money could very well be that the jury would find that edwards did not know that the 2007, or didn't intend for the 2007 money to be to further the election purposes. that's when the affair was still secret and the money was being used simply to cover up the affair from his wife. the jurors could be believe that. moving on to 2008, they could say, all right, elizabeth knew at that time but the affair already. so the only purpose the money was being used for and edwards knew it was to protect his presidential ambitions. i think that might be the distinction there. >> we'll see what happens next. it is certainly quite an interesting hour. thank you, john kelly, for sticking around. thank you for joining this news coverage of the edwards trial. i'm going to turn it over to my colleague, martin bashir. we will see you tomorrow.
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good afternoon. the jury in the john edwards trial has reached a verdict but only on one count. let's try to make some sense of this. joining us now is, i believe, pete williams. are you there, pete? >> yes. >> can you explain what happened? >> no. >> thank you. that's a great start. >> reporter: i can tell you what it is but i can't explain it. what happened is the jury said, we have reached a verdict. and we found out that that was literally true. it has reached a verdict on only one of the six counts against john edwards. and that is whether he accepted illegally a contribution from a wealthy donor named rachel bunny mellon in 2008. that's the only count on whic