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Flashback: Presidential Candidate John Edwards Acquitted On Campaign Finance Charge, Hillary Clinton Only Paid Fine for Violation

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By now our readers have certainly been made aware of the patently 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 around hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels voted to do so.

He also just so happens to be the leading Republican candidate for President.

This biased prosecution is historic 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 bit differently.

John Edwards Acquitted on Campaign Finance Violation

John Edwards was a frontrunner at one point during the 2008 Democrat primary. He would finish second in the Iowa Caucuses that year to then-Senator Barack Obama, and ahead of Hillary Clinton.

He was on a short list of possible candidates to be selected as Vice President on Obama’s campaign.

It all came tumbling down for Edwards when his campaign was eventually derailed by extramarital affair allegations involving actress Rielle Hunter. An affair he would eventually admit to and which had yielded a child.

Edwards’ affair with Hunter took place while his wife Elizabeth was battling cancer.

Following a two-year investigation, Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury in North Carolina on six felony charges stemming from efforts to conceal the affair by using campaign contributions.

He was accused by the Justice Department of funneling nearly $1 million in donations to his pregnant mistress.

Edwards was acquitted on one campaign finance violation charge while the others resulted in mistrials. The DOJ would later drop the charges and decline to pursue a retrial.

Interestingly, this case parallels Trump in some manner, but it might also provide the GOP frontrunner a defense.

Edwards successfully argued that the payments to persuade someone alleging an affair to go away amount to private transactions. The idea was that the gifts were given to keep the scandal quiet, and would have taken place if he were running for President or not.

His defense team submitted that Edwards’ actions were a wrong but not a crime.

RELATED: DeSantis Forcefully Condemns ‘Un-American’ Trump Indictment, Says Florida Will Refuse to Cooperate in Extradition

Hillary Clinton Paid Fine For Campaign Finance Violation, Was Never Indicted

In more recent events, but perhaps a less apples-to-oranges comparison, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were fined thousands of dollars over undisclosed campaign payments for the infamous “Steele dossier.”

The DNC was ordered to pay $105,000 by the Federal Election Commission while Clinton’s campaign was fined $8,000 for failing to properly disclose spending on the controversial dossier.

The DNC and Hillary’s campaign reportedly misled on the reasoning behind financing the dossier, “claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.”

Neither the campaign nor the party conceded to any wrongdoing but agreed to pay the fines as a means to settle the situation.

Which is interesting if you think about it. Clinton was able to “settle” her campaign finance situation – in which she paid a foreign spy to try to defeat her political rival – without drawing a grand jury indictment.

Edwards’ team was reportedly part of “intensive negotiations” for a plea bargain before things fell apart, leading to his indictment.

Was Trump ever offered a plea deal prior to the grand jury vote, or the ability to “settle” his alleged campaign finance violations?

Trump’s lawyer indicates that there is zero chance the former President will accept any kind of plea deal at this point.

Trump’s defense attorney, in an interview on NBC News, said he “will not take a plea deal on this case.”

“It’s not gonna happen,” he said. “There’s no crime.”

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