A federal judge Thursday refused to dismiss charges against former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, Bloomberg reported.
In issuing her ruling, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles said that a jury should decide the validity of Edwards’ contention that he had not committed a crime and that George E.B. Holding, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina was prosecuting him to advance his own political career. Holding is now running for a U.S. House seat from North Carolina.
“These matters are better to be dealt with by the jury at trial,” Eagles said Thursday.
Edwards, a former Democratic Senator from North Carolina, is accused of using about $1 million in undisclosed payments from his campaign finance chairman and a wealthy 98-year-old widow to cover up an affair during his 2008 run for the White House.
He has pleaded not guilty. A trial is scheduled to begin in January.
“This case is about politics,” Edwards had argued in court documents. “Politics can be a rough-and-tumble business where partisan interests collide, but that is not supposed to be true of the criminal justice system.”
But DOJ officials said that the case was not only handled by Holding, but by career prosecutors in Washington. And they say that Holding and other DOJ officials made a decision not to pursue the Edwards case until after the 2008 election, fearing allegations that they were attempting to influence the election by prosecuting Edwards.