By now our readers have certainly been made aware of the patently political indictment issued against former President Donald Trump.
Trump is now the first former President to be indicted after a Manhattan grand jury investigating the circumstances around hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels voted to do so.
He also just so happens to be the leading Republican candidate for President.
This biased prosecution is historic in nature, making it difficult to compare and analyze.
But two incidents involving former presidential candidates might shed some light and, as you’ll see, as Democrats they were treated a little bit differently.
John Edwards Acquitted on Campaign Finance Violation
John Edwards was a frontrunner at one point during the 2008 Democrat primary. He would finish second in the Iowa Caucuses that year to then-Senator Barack Obama, and ahead of Hillary Clinton.
He was on a short list of possible candidates to be selected as Vice President on Obama’s campaign.
It all came tumbling down for Edwards when his campaign was eventually derailed by extramarital affair allegations involving actress Rielle Hunter. An affair he would eventually admit to and which had yielded a child.
Edwards’ affair with Hunter took place while his wife Elizabeth was battling cancer.
“Responsibility. This is about me. While I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong. And there is no one else responsible for my sins… I am responsible…It is me.”
– John Edwards May 31, 2012 pic.twitter.com/pPxYvHo0Qo
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 31, 2023
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Following a two-year investigation, Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury in North Carolina on six felony charges stemming from efforts to conceal the affair by using campaign contributions.
He was accused by the Justice Department of funneling nearly $1 million in donations to his pregnant mistress.
Edwards was acquitted on one campaign finance violation charge while the others resulted in mistrials. The DOJ would later drop the charges and decline to pursue a retrial.
Interestingly, this case parallels Trump in some manner, but it might also provide the GOP frontrunner a defense.
Edwards successfully argued that the payments to persuade someone alleging an affair to go away amount to private transactions. The idea was that the gifts were given to keep the scandal quiet, and would have taken place if he were running for President or not.
His defense team submitted that Edwards’ actions were a wrong but not a crime.
.@baseballcrank says the now-real Trump indictment is reminiscent of the prosecution of John Edwards.
How did that go for the Obama DOJ?https://t.co/fYOHDy736x
— National Review (@NRO) March 31, 2023
RELATED: DeSantis Forcefully Condemns ‘Un-American’ Trump Indictment, Says Florida Will Refuse to Cooperate in Extradition
Hillary Clinton Paid Fine For Campaign Finance Violation, Was Never Indicted
In more recent events, but perhaps a less apples-to-oranges comparison, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were fined thousands of dollars over undisclosed campaign payments for the infamous “Steele dossier.”
The DNC was ordered to pay $105,000 by the Federal Election Commission while Clinton’s campaign was fined $8,000 for failing to properly disclose spending on the controversial dossier.
BREAKING: Last year Hillary Clinton quietly settled a campaign finance violation over reporting the *Steele Dossier* funding as legal services
She paid a fine and was never arrested pic.twitter.com/MoIoClVaQ8
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 30, 2023
The DNC and Hillary’s campaign reportedly misled on the reasoning behind financing the dossier, “claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.”
Neither the campaign nor the party conceded to any wrongdoing but agreed to pay the fines as a means to settle the situation.
Which is interesting if you think about it. Clinton was able to “settle” her campaign finance situation – in which she paid a foreign spy to try to defeat her political rival – without drawing a grand jury indictment.
Edwards’ team was reportedly part of “intensive negotiations” for a plea bargain before things fell apart, leading to his indictment.
Was Trump ever offered a plea deal prior to the grand jury vote, or the ability to “settle” his alleged campaign finance violations?
Trump’s lawyer indicates that there is zero chance the former President will accept any kind of plea deal at this point.
“The former president will not take a plea deal if the case goes to trial.” pic.twitter.com/hCcpupMq2Y
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 31, 2023
Trump’s defense attorney, in an interview on NBC News, said he “will not take a plea deal on this case.”
“It’s not gonna happen,” he said. “There’s no crime.”
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Author: Rusty Weiss