The prosecution of John Edwards for supposedly using campaign contributions to hide an extramarital affair resulted Thursday in an acquittal on one count and a hung jury on the other five.
The main problem that we saw in the whole trial was that the position of the defense - that the funds used to hide Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter were not campaign contributions - was actually a confession to another crime.
If the funds paid to garner Hunter's silence about the affair were not campaign funds, then they were gifts. And federal income tax laws at the time of these transgressions limited gifts to $11,000 per year. Someone - Edwards or Hunter, presumably - owes a bunch of money in taxes to the federal government for the estimated $1 million paid to ensure her silence.
We're certain that the Internal Revenue Service was simply waiting for the outcome of this trial to let Edwards and/or Hunter know there is a significant gift tax due on the funds that kept her in luxury while the lusty senator first ran for president and then tried to finagle a position in government.
Of course, they can debate who owes the tax and perhaps subject one - or the both of them - to a tidy term in a federal prison. It would actually be somewhat satisfying if they fought the gift tax. Someone belongs in jail for this attempt to corrupt the electoral process.
Unfortunately, John Edwards is a trial lawyer and knows our legal system boils down to the art of the deal. This sordid affair will probably be resolved when the disgraced senator agrees to pay the gift tax on the bribe to his girlfriend - at a reduced rate to what is actually owed.
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