Jurors have now spent five days studying evidence to decide if John Edwards used campaign money to hide his pregnant mistress.
On Thursday, they asked the judge for 20 more pieces of evidence, including the first piece of evidence from the defense. The request came just before noon.
Experts said that could be a positive sign for Edwards’ defense team.
Though the defense presented dozens of pieces of evidence during testimony and closing arguments, Thursday marked the first time the jury showed interest in re-examining the pieces.
They requested Item 1232, a chart that showed the checks that Andrew and Cheri Young cashed over a 10-month period. The checks were written by two wealthy donors, Fred Baron and Bunny Mellon.
The defense had shown the chart to the jury to argue the Youngs were using the money to pay for vacations with their children and an extravagant house in Chapel Hill.
The jury’s interest in that argument could be good for the defense, according to legal analysts.
“The defense told the jury to follow the money, and if the money ends in a swimming pool in a $1.9 million house, it’s hard to say that it went to advance the candidacy of John Edwards for president,” said Kieran Shanahan.
The move to those checks could be a sign the jury is moving forward.
Earlier in the week, the jury had focused on evidence the prosecution said proved Edwards’ guilt in the felony counts related to Mellon’s contributions.
The request Thursday centered more on the fourth and fifth felony counts, which centered on Baron’s donations to Edwards.
Shanahan said the request is a sign of progress.
Many of the pieces of evidence were receipts and bank statements that trace the money spent to fly Edwards’ former staffer and his family along with Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter, into hiding.
The evidence includes a handwritten note from Baron to Young sent with $1,000 in cash, which said, “Old Chinese saying: Use cash, not credit cards.”
But Shanahan said there is now the possibility for jurors to get hung up because the request for evidence led to the judge handing over every piece of evidence in the case.
“To actually bring in all those documents now may suggest that they’re going to feel compelled to look at them all,” Shanahan said.
“It could take us into next week, but I wouldn’t rule out a verdict sometime this week,” he said.
The jury has now deliberated for 26 hours. They are scheduled to resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. Friday.