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Federal prosecutors said those donations were campaign contributions because Edwards’ bid for the Democratic nomination depended in part on his image as a devoted father and family man. At the time of the indictment, legal experts told Roll Call that securing a conviction in the Edwards case would require a broad reading of what constitutes a campaign finance contribution and that there was conflicting precedent in similar civil cases that have been considered by the Federal Election Commission.
“Stevens didn’t go well and this didn’t go well. It may chasten the Justice Department on going after politicians using shaky legal theories,” Hasen said.