So I'm back in contact with the news and I find that the John Edwards trial ended in a mistrial with acquittal on one count and a hung jury on the other five counts, with the Justice Department unlikely to pursue a retrial. This is obviously a different result than what occurred in the trial of Edwards' former colleague in the U.S. Senate, Ted Stevens. One big difference was that the prosecution in the Stevens case did not turn over all the evidence to the defense that the government should have shared. But beyond those discovery failures in the Stevens case, I would note two other significant factors that help explain the different outcomes:
1. The law surrounding the campaign finance violations at issue in the Edwards case is complex and confusing, while the law in question in the Stevens trial--a statute requiring Members of Congress to disclose gifts and loans--is straightforward if obscure.
2. The defendant testified in the Stevens trial, while the defendant in the Edwards trial stayed off the stand.