By now, our readers have certainly been made aware of the blatantly political indictment issued against former President Donald Trump.
Trump is now the first former president to be indicted after a Manhattan grand jury investigating the circumstances surrounding silent money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels voted to do so.
He also happens to be the leading Republican candidate for president.
This biased pursuit is historical in nature, making it difficult to compare and analyze.
But two incidents involving former presidential candidates might shed some light, and as you’ll see, as Democrats, they were treated a little differently.
John Edwards acquitted of campaign finance violation
John Edwards was a favorite at one point during the 2008 Democratic primary. He would finish second in the Iowa caucus that year, behind Senator Barack Obama, and ahead of Hillary Clinton.
He was on a short list of potential candidates to be selected as Obama’s campaign vice president.
It all came crashing down for Edwards when his campaign was finally derailed by extramarital affair allegations involving actress Rielle Hunter. An affair that he would eventually confess and which had given rise to a child.
Edwards’ affair with Hunter took place while his wife Elizabeth was battling cancer.
“Accountability. It’s about me. Although I don’t think I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did tremendous, tremendous harm. And there is no one else responsible for my sins… I am responsible… It’s me.
– John Edwards May 31, 2012 pic.twitter.com/pPxYvHo0Qo
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 31, 2023
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Following a two-year investigation, Edwards was indicted by a North Carolina federal grand jury on six felony counts stemming from efforts to cover up the affair using campaign contributions.
He was accused by the Department of Justice of transporting nearly $1 million in donations to his pregnant mistress.
Edwards was acquitted of one campaign finance violation charge while the others ended up in mistrials. The DOJ would later drop the charges and refuse to prosecute a new trial.
Interestingly, this case parallels Trump in some ways, but it could also provide some defense for the GOP frontrunner.
Edwards successfully argued that payments to persuade someone alleging an affair to go away amounted to private transactions. The idea was that the gifts were given to keep the scandal quiet and would have happened whether he ran for president or not.
His defense team argued that Edwards’ actions were a wrong but not a crime.
.@baseballcrank says Trump’s now real indictment is reminiscent of the John Edwards prosecution.
How did it go for Obama’s DOJ?https://t.co/fYOHDy736x
– National Review (@NRO) March 31, 2023
RELATED: DeSantis strongly condemns Trump’s ‘un-American’ indictment, says Florida will refuse to cooperate with extradition
Hillary Clinton paid fine for campaign finance violation, never charged
In more recent events, but perhaps a less apple-orange comparison, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were fined thousands of dollars for undisclosed campaign payments for the infamous “Steele dossier”.
The DNC was ordered to pay $105,000 by the Federal Election Commission while the Clinton campaign was fined $8,000 for failing to properly disclose expenses on the controversial file.
BREAKING: Last year, Hillary Clinton quietly settled a campaign finance violation for flagging *Steele Dossier* funding as legal services
She paid a fine and was never arrested pic.twitter.com/MoIoClVaQ8
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) March 30, 2023
The DNC and Hillary’s campaign allegedly misled the reasoning behind funding the case, “saying it was for legal services, not opposition research.”
Neither the campaign nor the party conceded any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay the fines as a way to resolve the situation.
Which is interesting if you think about it. Clinton was able to “settle” her campaign finance situation — in which she paid off a foreign spy to try to defeat her political rival — without drawing up a grand jury indictment.
Edwards’ team would have been part of “intensive negotiations” For a plea bargain before things fell apart, leading to his indictment.
Has Trump ever offered a plea deal before the grand jury vote, or the ability to “settle” his alleged campaign finance violations?
Trump’s attorney says there’s no chance the former president will accept any kind of plea deal at this point.
“The former president will not accept a plea deal if the case goes to trial.” pic.twitter.com/hCcpupMq2Y
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 31, 2023
Trump’s defense attorney, in a interview on NBC News, said he “will not accept a plea deal in this case.”
“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “There is no crime.”
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