Updated 5:04 p.m.
The U.S. Justice Department said this afternoon it will not retry former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on campaign finance charges.
A jury on May 31 acquitted Edwards on one of six counts and deadlocked on the others, marking a setback for the prosecutors who brought the novel legal case.
"We knew that this case—like all campaign finance cases—would be challenging," Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division said in a statement. "But it is our duty to bring hard cases when we believe that the facts and the law support charging a candidate for high office with a crime."
Breuer said DOJ last month "put forward its best case against Mr. Edwards, and I am proud of the skilled and professional way in which our prosecutors" conducted the trial.
The government's trial team included lawyers from the Main Justice's Public Integrity Section and from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
"The jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on five of the six counts of the indictment, however, and we respect their judgment," Breuer said. "In the interest of justice, we have decided not to retry Mr. Edwards on those counts."
Edwards's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, a Chadbourne & Parke partner, said in a statement this afternoon that the novel theory of campaign law violations charged by the Justice Department is not a crime. (Lowell represented Edwards with Allison Van Laningham and Alan Duncan of Smith Moore Leatherwood.)
"While John has repeatedly admitted to his sins, he has also consistently asserted, as we demonstrated at the trial, that he did not violate any campaign law nor even imagined that any campaign laws could apply," Lowell said. "We are confident that the outcome of any new trial would have been the same. We are very glad that, after living under this cloud for over three years, John and his family can have their lives back and enjoy the peace they deserve."