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Jan Baran Discusses Unfolding Events at the John Edwards Trial

CBS News; National Journal
April 26, 2012

Wiley Rein Election Law & Government Ethics Practice co-chair Jan Baran appeared on CBS News to discuss the criminal trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards, who is accused of breaking campaign finance laws in order to hide an extramarital affair.  CBS reported that the prosecution “tried to plug potential holes in the testimony of their star witness, focusing on blatant inconsistencies.”

The prosecution's case hinges on whether nearly $1 million in donations from wealthy donors was used to hide a mistress or to help keep the Edwards campaign going.

Mr. Baran told CBS that the prosecution’s witness “has testified very much to the detriment of the Edwards defense in the sense that he's said there were a lot of conversations with people about this cover-up and how it was campaign-related."

Mr. Baran was also quoted by National Journal on the implications of the Edwards trial.  The article reported that “dismissal of the case could have huge implications for federal regulation of how campaigns are financed. If the prosecution is unsuccessful and the Federal Election Commission takes no follow-up action … the verdict could open yet another floodgate for well-heeled donors to wield influence over political candidates in a system already awash in money.”

“Why wouldn’t a wealthy individual be able to pay for the tuition of a candidate’s kids going to college? Or a mortgage?” said Mr. Baran, providing examples of what a loss by prosecutors could mean.  “Maybe they’ll get them a second vacation home. There are some very fundamental issues at stake here.”

Mr. Baran added that it is key for prosecutors to show evidence of a willful and deliberate plot by Mr. Edwards to make sure that his mistress did not become a political liability.