Well, this is the end of it. Unless someone comes up with a whole new narrative about something John Edwards did to break the law, his legal troubles are over. The Justice Department decided to drop its case against the former presidential candidate on Wednesday, so it won't retry him after a jury exonerated him on one count of receiving an illegal campaign donation, and deadlocked on five other counts.
Carrie Johnson of NPR's The Two-Way, which is one of the first news sites on which we've seen the story, explains that "Government lawyers asked Judge Catherine Eagles to dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning they will not take another bite at the apple and try to resurrect their high profile case." And according to NBC's Lisa Myers, the judge did. NPR's Johnson helpfully posted the statement from Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, explaining that they decided to drop it "in the interest of justice":
"We knew that this case – like all campaign finance cases – would be challenging. But it is our duty to bring hard cases when we believe that the facts and the law support charging a candidate for high office with a crime. Last month, the government put forward its best case against Mr. Edwards, and I am proud of the skilled and professional way in which our prosecutors from the Criminal Division's Public Integrity Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina conducted this trial. The jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on five of the six counts of the indictment, however, and we respect their judgment. In the interest of justice, we have decided not to retry Mr. Edwards on those counts."