Yesterday, the judge allowed a former advisor to John Edwards to recount how the former senator's now-deceased-wife confronted her husband, baring her chest in front of staff members, the day after a tabloid reported that he was cheating on her. A woman, who had endured treatments for breast cancer, took off her shirt and bra and said, "You don't see me anymore."
Ugly stuf, emphasizing what a scurrilous cad Edwards was (is). But, how is this relevant to the ultimate issue of whether he knowingly misused campaign funds? In ruling on the admissibility of evidence, the judge must balance probative value against undue prejudice. With all the salacious details already testified to by former aid Andrew Young and his wife, isn't this overkill to the reversible extreme?
Edwards acted like a pig. Plain and simple, and he has yet to fess up. To be sure, Young and his wife stand exposed to characterizations of greedy, self-serving sycophants, but the jury must, nevertheless, be looking at Edwards with disgust. If his defense is to be based upon the very valid but technical ground that the monies in question were gifts rather than contributions, of which their solicitation and handling he had no knowledge, at least parts of the flung filth will stick to the walls of the jury room. What, then, should he do?
He should subject himself to the unforgiving ordeal of cross-examination under oath. He'll be lashed to the mast and whipped to an inch of his life. Let him admit his misconduct and set forth the "why" of it all. Not to justify but rather to unburden the unbearable weight of living with a constant lie. Tell what you did and what you knew; what you didn't do and what you didn't know.
Does he have it in him to do this? Can he legitimize the desire of his conscience to survive? Bill Clinton managed to resurrect his life because of one factor. Hillary never chose to divorce him and, thusly, stood by him.
Edwards has only himself to blame and, now, to effectuate his redemption.
He must, in a sense, stand by himself.