Rachel Maddow did an interesting piece Friday night that said something that needs to be said, over and over: John Edwards is being singled out for special treatment in his indictment. And unfortunately, people who might otherwise support him in fighting it have decided for their own reasons that he deserves to be punished because he cheated on his dying wife.
That's just plain crazy. And it's no basis for a criminal prosecution, as Maddow pointed out.
Nor is our personal affection for Elizabeth Edwards a good enough reason to look the other way while he's railroaded through a criminal trial that was brought by a politically ambitious Republican prosecutor:
MADDOW: The reason the reason I'm making a federal case about this is because a federal case has been made about this - specifically, about the money part.
During the campaign with the National Enquirer reporting he had an affair. the mistress was a politically inconvenient thing for this presidential campaign. Two of his very wealthy supporters spent $900,000 trying to hide the woman with whom John Edwards had the affair. [...]
They paid for her medical care while pregnant. According to the government, that $900,000 spent on his mistress, that was a campaign contribution. It was meant to protect his public image. [...] $900,000 being spent on that is way over the limit for how much you can legally donate to a campaign. Remember when we used to think there was [a limit on] how much money you could give to a campaign.
The John Edwards trial is unprecedented. Nobody has been indicted on charges like this before, let alone in the wild, wild world campaign of no rules with the Citizens United and the finance laws they have killed in the last few years. Sheldon Adelson has spent more than 16 times more that the money implicated in the John Edwards scandal on Newt Gingrich in the 2012 primary. At least, this case is not about whether or not John Edwards is a bad guy. Ultimately, this sex scandal boils down to whether he took campaign donations that were too big. Joining us now is Hampton Dellinger. He's been covering by blog. Thanks for your time. it's nice to have you here.
DELLINGER: You're welcome. Great to be with you.
MADDOW: I know you've been covering this closely. Did I get the basics about the scandal and the case? I wouldn't be surprised if I messed something up.
DELLINGER: I'm surprised you didn't. You got it spot on. This is a one of a kind. It will likely be the only case of its kind. We have corporations and individuals giving tens of millions of dollars in direct aid of candidates and their campaign. $900,000 in indirect aid doesn't feel good, doesn't smell right. Clearly, his activity as a husband was heinous, but it's never been considered felonious until now.