On its ninth day of deliberations Thursday, the jury at the campaign finance trial of Sen. John Edwards reached a milestone that raised hopes verdicts may be near: the jurors asked to keep deliberating as they eat lunch.
“The jury has indicated they want to work through lunch today,” U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles said just before jurors were led into the courtroom at about 12:30 P.M. “They still want a short sunshine break,” Eagles added.
The development seemed to signal that the eight men and four women on the jury are trying to bear down and finish their work, perhaps to avoid their deliberations spilling into next week.
The jurors looked a bit more relaxed Thursday, when compared with their downcast appearance since May 18, when they began discussing verdicts in the case. On Thursday, one man who hasn’t been seen smiling previously, did so.
Edwards is facing six felony charges stemming from nearly $1 million in payments made to hide his pregnant mistress during the 2008 presidential race.
The protracted deliberations have fueled speculation that the jury is at loggerheads over some or all of the six felony charges facing the two-time presidential candidate, who represented North Carolina for six years in the Senate and was the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2004.