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Former Presidential Candidate John Edwards Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Offenses

Former Presidential hopeful John Edwards pled not guilty to numerous federal offenses, including conspiracy, false statements and financial improprieties involving campaign donations. Federal authorities brought the charges, claiming that Edwards directed that monetary gifts from two supporters (totaling nearly a million dollars) be used to support his mistress and hide the affair. Edwards does not deny the fact that the money was given to his mistress and a former aide and that it was used to support his mistress and cover-up his affair. However, he is adamant that money was a gift, not a campaign contribution. And, he insists his conduct is not criminal.

The exact charges brought against Edwards are relatively uncommon in federal court, and are more specific to political candidates and elected officials. The types of white collar crimes that are most often prosecuted in federal court include wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and/or money laundering. These charges are ordinarily targeted toward business people (not just politicians).

Despite the uniqueness of the charges, the Edwards indictment clearly illustrates the central issue in many high profile andwhite collar crimes cases: When does poor decision making (or poor business management) cross the line into criminal conduct? Prosecutors and media outlets drum-up community moral outrage to support these types of prosecutions. But, they miss the most important inquiry. No one questions that Edwards is morally culpable for having an affair and hurting his wife, his children and many others who trusted and relied on him. Even Edwards himself admits that. The question that must be answered is: Is this conduct really criminal?

The money in question was not even given directly to Edwards. Instead, it was given to Edwards' mistress and an aide. In order to prevail, federal prosecutors will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the financial transactions were not just monetary gifts. The federal prosecutors will have to show that the money was, in fact, a campaign donation and that it was improperly diverted to keep his affair secret and thus protect his presidential bid. Even many of the staunchest political watchdogs are questioning whether the case is really provable.

If you or someone you know is charged with a white collar or a high-profile offense, it is important that you contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately. TheLas Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney can assist you in analyzing the facts of your case, and differentiating between poor decision making and criminal conduct. The Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney can help you identify appropriate defenses and develop the most aggressive defense strategy possible to protect your legal rights.