As deliberations drag on to a fifth day in the trial of John Edwards, some legal analysts say Edwards could have strong grounds to appeal if he's convicted.
Former federal prosecutor Kieran Shanahan said it all comes down to the fact that the judge broadened the legal definition of a part of federal election law.
It was a move that helps the prosecution, but could also help Edwards in the scenario of an appeal.
U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles was appointed in 1993, elected in 1994 and is the senior resident judge in the United States District Court, Middle District of North Carolina.
Prosecutors have accused Edwards of masterminding a plan to misuse nearly a million dollars in contributions from two wealthy donors to hide his affair with Rielle Hunter and thus protect his 2008 campaign for president.
His attorneys say no -- that the money was gifts and that Edwards wanted to hide the affair from his family.
The law defines contributions as money (or other items, like gifts) made for "the" purpose of influencing any election.
But the prosecution argued that the law should be interpreted to mean "a" purpose -- meaning one of the purposes.
Judge Eagles agreed and told the jury to view it that way as well.
"The judge said, ‘Look, when we do things in life, we do it for multiple reasons,’" Shanahan said.
It means that in the prosecution's argument, Edwards could have used the money both to hide the affair from his wife and also hide it from the public and protect his 2008 White House bid, which they argue makes the money campaign contributions, not just gifts.
"It's certainly fraught for appeal if John Edwards loses," he said.