WBEZ | indictment http://www.wbez.org/tags/indictment Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Key figures in the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/key-figures-ferguson-missouri-shooting-111154 <p><p>FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) &mdash; A look at some of the key figures in the case of Michael Brown, the black 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a white police officer in August &mdash; a death that stirred weeks of violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb.</p><p>___</p><p>MICHAEL BROWN</p><p>Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School last spring and was preparing to attend Vatterott College, where he planned to study to become a heating and air conditioning technician. Friends say he eventually wanted to go into business for himself.</p><p>Relatives and friends described Brown, who grew up in a tough neighborhood, as a quiet, gentle giant who stood around 6-foot-3 and weighed nearly 300 pounds. He was unarmed on the day he was killed.</p><p>Police said later that he was a suspect in the &quot;strong-arm&quot; robbery of a convenience store moments before the shooting. A family attorney said Brown may have made mistakes but did not deserve to die.</p><p>&quot;He was just looking forward to getting on with his life,&quot; said his grandmother, Desuirea Harris. &quot;He was on his way.&quot;</p><p>___</p><p>OFFICER DARREN WILSON</p><p>Some descriptions of Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson are similar to those of Brown. Both men have been described as gentle and quiet. Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Wilson had no previous complaints against him and a good career record.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s devastated,&quot; the chief said after naming Wilson as the shooter back in August. &quot;He never intended for this to happen. He is, and has been, an excellent police officer.&quot;</p><p>Wilson began his career in nearby Jennings before moving to the Ferguson job several years ago. He was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting.</p><p>___</p><p>POLICE CHIEF THOMAS JACKSON</p><p>Thomas Jackson was a police veteran long before he came to Ferguson. He spent more than 30 years with the St. Louis County Police Department, at one point serving as commander of a drug task force. Before that he was a SWAT team supervisor, undercover detective and hostage negotiator.</p><p>He heads a department with 53 officers, only three of them black, in a town where nearly 70 percent of the 21,000 residents are African-American.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m constantly trying to recruit African-Americans and other minorities,&quot; Jackson has said. &quot;But it&#39;s an uphill battle. The minority makeup of this police department is not where I want it to be.&quot;</p><p>Some of Jackson&#39;s actions in the wake of the shooting have drawn criticism, including his decision to announce that Brown was a suspect in the convenience store robbery, a move that stirred anger in Ferguson&#39;s black community.</p><p>___</p><p>ST. LOUIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR BOB MCCULLOCH</p><p>Since his election in 1991, Bob McCulloch has been the top prosecutor in St. Louis County. A Democrat with a reputation for being tough on crime, he comes from a law enforcement family. He was 12 when his father, a police officer, was shot and killed by a black suspect in 1964.</p><p>Some critics, including St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, questioned McCulloch&#39;s ability to be objective in the Ferguson case. They wondered if the loss of his father in such circumstances creates a built-in bias.</p><p>___</p><p>MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL CAPT. RON JOHNSON</p><p>During a 27-year career, Capt. Ron Johnson rose from patrolman to chief of the 11-county division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol that includes St. Louis and its suburbs.</p><p>Back in August, Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Johnson to take command of security in Ferguson. That decision came after complaints that authorities were too heavy-handed with protesters, when St. Louis County police were in charge.</p><p>Johnson&#39;s calm but commanding presence drew high praise from many observers. When Johnson, who is black, walked down the streets of Ferguson with protesters, many demonstrators shook his hand or posed for photos with him. He reminded locals of his Ferguson roots and suggested that he, too, had lessons to learn from the case.</p><p>&quot;We all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael, because Michael&#39;s going to make it better for our sons, so they can be better black men,&quot; he said during public remarks in August.</p><p>He also apologized to Brown&#39;s family.</p><p>&quot;I wear this uniform, and I should stand up here and say that I&#39;m sorry,&quot; he said.</p><p>___</p><p>MISSOURI GOV. JAY NIXON</p><p>Events in Ferguson could have a significant effect on the political future of Gov. Jay Nixon, a 58-year-old Democrat.</p><p>His experience in confronting crime includes overseeing Missouri&#39;s long record of executions. During Nixon&#39;s four terms as attorney general and two terms as governor, Missouri has put 66 convicted killers to death, a total few states can match.</p><p>Nixon drew some criticism in the days immediately after the shooting for keeping a low profile, but he soon moved to the forefront, putting state police in charge of security and then calling in the National Guard to help quell the violence.</p><p>___</p><p>ATTORNEY BENJAMIN CRUMP</p><p>Benjamin Crump became a national figure when he represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager fatally shot by a neighborhood-watch organizer in 2012. Now he is back in the spotlight, representing Brown&#39;s family in another racially charged death.</p><p>Crump, 44, was born in North Carolina, one of nine children. Now based in Tallahassee, Florida, he seems to fight back his own emotions as he talks about the loss suffered by Brown&#39;s parents.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t want to sugarcoat it,&quot; Crump said in August. Brown &quot;was executed in broad daylight.&quot;</p><p>___</p><p>ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER</p><p>Almost from the outset, Attorney General Eric Holder showed a strong interest in Michael Brown&#39;s death.</p><p>Two days after the shooting, Holder said the case deserved a full review and dispatched a Justice Department team to Ferguson to try to calm tensions. The department soon launched its own civil rights investigation.</p><p>Holder ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a third autopsy on Brown and called the Brown family to express his condolences. He said aggressively pursuing these types of investigations is &quot;critical for preserving trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/key-figures-ferguson-missouri-shooting-111154 Timeline of events after death of Michael Brown http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/timeline-events-after-death-michael-brown-111153 <p><p>FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) &mdash; A timeline of key events following the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.</p><p>___</p><p>AUG. 9 &mdash; Brown and a companion, both black, are confronted by an officer as they walk back to Brown&#39;s home from a convenience store. Brown and the officer, who is white, are involved in a scuffle, followed by gunshots. Brown dies at the scene, and his body remains in the street for four hours in the summer heat. Neighbors later lash out at authorities, saying they mistreated the body.</p><p>AUG. 10 &mdash; After a candlelight vigil, people protesting Brown&#39;s death smash car windows and carry away armloads of looted goods from stores. In the first of several nights of violence, looters are seen making off with bags of food, toilet paper and alcohol. Some protesters stand atop police cars and taunt officers.</p><p>AUG. 11 &mdash; The FBI opens an investigation into Brown&#39;s death, and two men who said they saw the shooting tell reporters that Brown had his hands raised when the officer approached with his weapon and fired repeatedly. That night, police in riot gear fire tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse a crowd.</p><p>AUG. 12 &mdash; Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson cancels plans to release the name of the officer who shot Brown, citing death threats against the police department and City Hall.</p><p>AUG. 14 &mdash; The Missouri Highway Patrol takes control of security in Ferguson, relieving St. Louis County and local police of their law-enforcement authority following four days of violence. The shift in command comes after images from the protests show many officers equipped with military style gear, including armored vehicles, body armor and assault rifles. In scores of photographs that circulate online, officers are seen pointing their weapons at demonstrators.</p><p>AUG. 15 &mdash; Police identify the officer who shot Brown as Darren Wilson, 28. They also release a video purporting to show Brown robbing a convenience store of almost $50 worth of cigars shortly before he was killed, a move that further inflames protesters.</p><p>AUG. 16 &mdash; Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency and imposes a curfew in Ferguson.</p><p>AUG. 17&mdash; Attorney General Eric Holder orders a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on Brown.</p><p>AUG. 18 &mdash; Nixon calls the National Guard to Ferguson to help restore order and lifts the curfew.</p><p>AUG. 19 &mdash; Nixon says he will not seek the removal of St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch from the investigation into Brown&#39;s death. Some black leaders questioned whether the prosecutor&#39;s deep family connections to police would affect his ability to be impartial. McCulloch&#39;s father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was a child, and he has many relatives who work in law enforcement.</p><p>AUG. 20 &mdash; Holder visits Ferguson to offer assurances about the investigation into Brown&#39;s death and to meet with investigators and Brown&#39;s family. In nearby Clayton, a grand jury begins hearing evidence to determine whether Wilson should be charged.</p><p>AUG. 21 &mdash; Nixon orders the National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson.</p><p>SEPT. 25&mdash; Holder announces his resignation but says he plans to remain in office until his successor is confirmed.</p><p>SEPT. 25&mdash; Ferguson Chief Tom Jackson releases a videotaped apology to Brown&#39;s family and attempts to march in solidarity with protesters, a move that backfires when Ferguson officers scuffle with demonstrators and arrest one person moments after Jackson joins the group.</p><p>OCT. 10 &mdash; Protesters from across the country descend on the St. Louis region for &quot;Ferguson October,&quot; four days of coordinated and spontaneous protests. A weekend march and rally in downtown St. Louis draws several thousand participants.</p><p>OCT. 13 &mdash; Amid a downpour, an interfaith group of clergy cross a police barricade on the final day of Ferguson October as part of an event dubbed &quot;Moral Monday.&quot; The protests extend beyond Ferguson to sites such as the nearby headquarters of Fortune 500 company Emerson Electric and the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis, site of a Monday Night Football game between the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers.</p><p>OCT. 21 &mdash; Nixon pledges to create an independent Ferguson Commission to examine race relations, failing schools and other broader social and economic issues in the aftermath of Brown&#39;s death.</p><p>NOV. 17 &mdash; The Democratic governor declares a state of emergency and activates the National Guard again ahead of a decision from a grand jury. He places the St. Louis County Police Department in charge of security in Ferguson, with orders to work as a unified command with St. Louis city police and the Missouri Highway Patrol.</p><p>NOV. 18 &mdash; Nixon names 16 people to the Ferguson Commission, selecting a diverse group that includes the owner of construction-supply company, two pastors, two attorneys, a university professor, a 20-year-old community activist and a police detective. Nine of its members are black. Seven are white.</p><p>NOV. 24 &mdash; St. Louis County prosecutor&#39;s office says the grand jury has reached a decision.</p></p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/timeline-events-after-death-michael-brown-111153 Grand jury: No indictment for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson http://www.wbez.org/news/grand-jury-no-indictment-ferguson-police-officer-darren-wilson-111152 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP762329691737.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>FERGUSON, Mo. &mdash; A grand jury declined Monday to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the unarmed, black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting sparked weeks of sometimes-violent protests and inflamed deep racial tensions between many African-Americans and police.</p><p>Moments after the announcement by St. Louis County&#39;s top prosecutor, crowds began pouring into Ferguson streets to protest the decision. Some taunted police, broke windows and vandalized cars. Within a few hours, several large buildings were ablaze, and frequent gunfire was heard. Officers used tear gas to try to disperse some of the gatherings.</p><p>Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said the jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 separate days over three months, hearing more than 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses, including three medical examiners and experts on blood, toxicology and firearms.</p><p>&quot;They are the only people that have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence,&quot; he said, adding that the jurors &quot;poured their hearts and soul into this process.&quot;</p><p>As McCulloch read his statement, Michael Brown&#39;s mother, Lesley McSpadden, sat atop a vehicle listening to a broadcast of the announcement. When she heard the decision, she burst into tears and began screaming before being whisked away by supporters.</p><p>The crowd with her erupted in anger, converging on the barricade where police in riot gear were standing. They pushed down the barricade and began pelting police with objects, including a bullhorn. Officers stood their ground.</p><p>At least nine votes would have been required to indict Wilson. The grand jury met in secret, a standard practice for such proceedings.</p><p>Speaking for nearly 45 minutes, a defensive McCulloch repeatedly cited what he said were inconsistencies and erroneous accounts from witnesses. When asked by a reporter whether any of the accounts amount to perjury, he said, &quot;I think they truly believe that&#39;s what they saw, but they didn&#39;t.&quot;</p><p>The prosecutor also was critical of the media, saying &quot;the most significant challenge&quot; for his office was a &quot;24-hour news cycle and an insatiable appetite for something &mdash; for anything &mdash; to talk about.&quot;</p><p>In his statement, McCulloch never mentioned that Brown was unarmed when he was killed.</p><p>Brown&#39;s family released a statement saying they were &quot;profoundly disappointed&quot; in the decision but asked that the public &quot;channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.&quot;</p><p>Shortly after the announcement, authorities released more than 1,000 pages of grand jury documents, including Wilson&#39;s testimony.</p><p>Wilson told jurors that he initially encountered Brown and a friend walking in a street and, when he told them to move to a sidewalk, Brown responded with an expletive.</p><p>Wilson then noticed that Brown had a handful of cigars, &quot;and that&#39;s when it clicked for me,&quot; he said, referring to a radio report minutes earlier of a robbery at a nearby convenience store.</p><p>Wilson said he asked a dispatcher to send additional police, then backed his vehicle up in front of Brown and his friend. As he tried to open the door, Wilson said Brown slammed it back shut.</p><p>The officer said he then pushed Brown with the door and Brown hit him in the face. Wilson told grand jurors he was thinking: &quot;What do I do not to get beaten inside my car.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I drew my gun,&quot; Wilson told the grand jury. &quot;I said, &quot;Get back or I&#39;m going to shoot you.&quot;</p><p>&quot;He immediately grabs my gun and says, &quot;You are too much of a pussy to shoot me,&quot; Wilson told grand jurors. He said Brown grabbed the gun with his right hand, twisted it and &quot;digs it into my hip.&quot;</p><p>Asked why he felt the need to pull his gun, Wilson told grand jurors he was concerned another punch to his face could &quot;knock me out or worse.&quot;</p><p>After shots were fired in the vehicle, Brown fled, and Wilson gave chase. At some point, Brown turned around to face the officer.</p><p>Witness accounts were conflicted about whether Brown walked, stumbled or charged back toward Wilson before he was fatally wounded, McCulloch said. There were also differing accounts of how or whether Brown&#39;s hands were raised. His body fell about 153 feet from Wilson&#39;s vehicle.</p><p>Thousands of people rallied in other U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and New York, to protest Monday&#39;s decision, leading marches, waving signs and shouting chants of &quot;Hands Up! Don&#39;t Shoot,&quot; the slogan that has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the country.</p><p>President Barack Obama appealed for calm and understanding, pleading with both protesters and police to show restraint.</p><p>&quot;We are a nation built on the rule of law, so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury&#39;s to make,&quot; Obama said. He said it was understandable that some Americans would be &quot;deeply disappointed &mdash; even angered,&quot; but echoed Brown&#39;s parents in calling for any protests to be peaceful.</p><p>Monday night&#39;s violence initially resembled the unrest during the days that followed Brown&#39;s death, when business windows were smashed and police vehicles damaged. But the destruction soon widened, with several large fires burning out of control and reports of frequent gunfire.</p><p>At least 10 St. Louis-bound flights were diverted to other airports because of concern about gunfire being aimed into the sky over Ferguson. Only law-enforcement aircraft were permitted to fly through the area, the Federal Aviation Administration said.</p><p>The Justice Department is conducting a separate investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges, but investigators would need to satisfy a rigorous standard of proof in order to mount a prosecution. The department also has launched a broad probe into the Ferguson Police Department, looking for patterns of discrimination.</p><p>Regardless of the outcome of those investigations, Brown&#39;s family could also file a wrongful-death lawsuit against Wilson.</p><p>The Aug. 9 shooting heightened tensions in the predominantly black St. Louis suburb that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force. As Brown&#39;s body lay for hours in the center of a residential street, an angry crowd of onlookers gathered. Rioting and looting occurred the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas.</p><p>Protests continued for weeks &mdash; often peacefully, but sometimes turning violent, with demonstrators throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails and police firing smoke canisters, tear gas and rubber bullets. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon briefly summoned the National Guard.</p><p>Throughout the investigation, some black leaders and Brown&#39;s parents questioned McCulloch&#39;s ability to be impartial. The prosecutor&#39;s father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect in 1964.</p><p>McCulloch was 12 at the time, and the killing became a hallmark of his initial campaign for elected prosecutor.</p><p>A Democrat, McCulloch has been in office since 1991 and was re-elected to another term earlier this month.</p><p>___</p><p>Link to grand jury documents</p><p>___</p><p>Associated Press writers Alan Scher Zagier in Clayton, Andale Gross and Jim Suhr in Ferguson and Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.</p><p>Chicago reaction to Ferguson verdict -</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/chicago-reacts-to-ferguson-grand-jury-decision/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/chicago-reacts-to-ferguson-grand-jury-decision.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/chicago-reacts-to-ferguson-grand-jury-decision" target="_blank">View the story "Chicago reacts to Ferguson grand jury decision" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/grand-jury-no-indictment-ferguson-police-officer-darren-wilson-111152 State Rep. LaShawn Ford indicted on bank fraud charges http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/state-rep-lashawn-ford-indicted-bank-fraud-charges-104118 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/lashawnford.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image ">An Illinois state representative from Chicago&rsquo;s West Side says he&rsquo;ll fight federal charges of bank fraud.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>State Rep. LaShawn Ford stands accused of 17 counts of bank fraud and lying to the now-failed ShoreBank. Federal prosecutors say the Chicago Democrat took out a line of credit worth $500,000 starting in 2006, thereby increasing his line of credit with the bank to $1,500,000.</p><p>In an indictment released Thursday, the U.S. Attorney&#39;s Office from the Northern District of Illinois alleges State Rep. LaShawn Ford, 40, said he would use the increase in the line of credit to purchase and rehab some properties, but instead used the money to pay off expenses from his 2006 campaign for state representative.</p><p>He also allegedly used it for payments to a casino in Hammond, Ind., credit cards, car loans and mortgages he held at the bank. Prosecutors allege Ford falsely inflated his personal income in obtaining the line of credit.</p><p>Ford operated Ford Desired Real Estate, Inc.&nbsp;</p><p>Thursday night, Ford met with reporters to deny the charges.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re good writers,&rdquo; he said, speaking about the prosecutors.</p><p>Ford said he&rsquo;s innocent and that prosecutors tell a good story.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s not one property that they could find that money was not used - all the money wasn&rsquo;t used to complete the task of the properties,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>A court date for Ford to formally enter his plea has not yet been set.&nbsp;Ford is the second sitting Illinois state representative to be indicted on federal charges this year.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 14:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/state-rep-lashawn-ford-indicted-bank-fraud-charges-104118 Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers indicted http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-commissioner-bill-beavers-indicted-96664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-23/AP041109017131.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers has been indicted. Federal prosecutors allege the longtime Chicago politician under-reported his income.</p><p>The 77-year-old also is accused of not paying enough taxes on money that he took from his campaign accounts and using that cash for personal use, including gambling, between 2006 and 2008.</p><p>U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office charged Beavers with three counts of filing false tax returns and one count of "endeavoring to obstruct and impede" the Internal Revenue Service.</p><p>"If politicians choose to use their campaign funds for personal use then they, like all citizens they serve, share the obligation to honestly report their income and pay the correct amount of taxes," Fitzgerald said in a statement.</p><p>The most glaring example alleged in the indictment occurred in November of 2006. According to prosecutors, Beavers gave a $68,763.07 check, from his campaign account, to Chicago's municipal pension fund in order to more than double his monthly pensions annuity. Prosecutors said Beavers did not report the campaign's pay-out as income.</p><p>Beavers was previously city chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party. He also served six terms as an alderman on Chicago's City Council from 1983 to 2006. A call to Beaver's office was not immediately returned.</p><p>Meantime, Beavers has told <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/10831329-417/beavers-i-was-indicted-because-i-wouldnt-wear-wire-on-john-daley.html" target="_blank">media outlets</a> Thursday that prosecutors wanted him to secretly record the powerful Cook County Finance Committee Chairman John Daley. When reached by phone, Daley said Beavers is trying to get the attention off of himself.</p><p>"I think someone's trying to move - the story of today is the indictment against Bill Beavers. And that's the entire story," Daley said. "You know, and that's the story only. It's nothing about John Daley. This is the indictment of Bill Beavers and only Bill Beavers."</p><p>Daley said he hasn't had a smooth relationship with Beavers since Beavers was elected to the Cook County Board in 2006.</p><p><em>WBEZ's Sam Hudzik contributed reporting.</em></p></p> Thu, 23 Feb 2012 19:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cook-county-commissioner-bill-beavers-indicted-96664 John Edwards indicted on federal charges http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-03/john-edwards-indicted-federal-charges-87385 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-03/John Edwards_AP_Gerry Broome.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A federal grand jury indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday over massive sums of money spent to keep his mistress in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House.</p><p>He was scheduled to be arraigned later in the day in Winston-Salem, N.C.</p><p>Edwards initially denied having an affair with Rielle Hunter but eventually admitted to it in the summer of 2008. He then denied being the father of her child before finally confessing last year. His wife, Elizabeth, died of cancer in December.</p><p>The case of <em>USA v Johnny Reid Edwards</em> contains six counts: one count of conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements. The indictment was returned in the Middle District of North Carolina.</p><p>Edwards could face five years in prison if convicted.</p><p>The indictment was the culmination of a federal investigation that lasted more than two years and scoured through virtually every corner of Edwards' political career.</p><p>It said Edwards proposed the names of wealthy donors who could give his mistress and their baby financial support. The money paid for hotels, chartered airplanes and living expenses. And none of it was reported to federal election officials.</p><p>The indictment said the payments were a scheme to protect Edwards' White House ambitions. "A centerpiece of Edwards' candidacy was his public image as a devoted family man," the document read.</p><p>"Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and the pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy," the indictment added.</p><p>Edwards' lawyer Gregory Craig issued a statement saying Edwards "is innocent of all charges, and will plead not guilty."</p><p>Defense attorneys also issued statements from campaign finance experts advising him.</p><p>The experts argued the payments provided by two wealthy Edwards supporters — his former campaign finance chairman Fred Baron and Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the 100-year-old widow of banking heir Paul Mellon — were not campaign contributions. One, former Federal Elections Commission Chairman Scott Thomas, said if the FEC had investigated it would have found the payments did not violate the law, even as a civil matter.</p><p>"A criminal prosecution of a candidate on these facts would be outside anything I would expect after decades of experience with the campaign finance laws," Thomas said.</p><p><em>NPR's Carrie Johnson reported from Washington, D.C., for this story, which contains material from The Associated Press.</em> <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. <img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1307116894?&gn=John+Edwards+Affair+Leads+To+Federal+Indictment&ev=event2&ch=1070&h1=Politics,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136918531&c19=20110603&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></div></p></p> Fri, 03 Jun 2011 09:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-06-03/john-edwards-indicted-federal-charges-87385