90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
John Edwards On Trial

John Edwards on trial, accused of using nearly a million dollars in campaign funds to hide an affair. Is he a cad or a criminal? Should he be facing up to 30 years in jail?

In this April 12, 2012, file photo, former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John Edwards arrives outside federal court following a lunch break in Greensboro, N.C., during jury selection in his criminal trial on alleged campaign finance violations. Defense lawyers for John Edwards will argue at his trial that much of the nearly $1 million in secret payments at issue in the criminal case against their client were actually siphoned off by a trusted aide to build an expansive dream home. (AP)

In this April 12, 2012, file photo, former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John Edwards arrives outside federal court following a lunch break in Greensboro, N.C., during jury selection in his criminal trial on alleged campaign finance violations. (AP)

The trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards going on now in North Carolina is hard to watch.  The testimony is so sad.  So tawdry.  A dying and deeply betrayed wife.  A hidden mistress and daughter.  A million dollars, nearly, sloshing around to keep them out of sight.  The whole thing makes you want to say “no” and “wrong.”

But should it put John Edwards in prison for maybe 30 years?   We want accountability on campaign spending.  But when the personal and political get so twisted, do we want to criminalize a run for high office?

This hour, On Point:  John Edwards on trial.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

Hampton Dellinger, litigation partner with Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson. He is also a legal analyst for MSNBC and the former state deputy Attorney General in North Carolina.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Walter Shapiro, a columnist for the Columbia Journalism Review and Yahoo! News, and special correspondent to The New Republic. Read his preview to the John Edwards trial.

From Tom’s Reading List

Charlotte Observer “Remember how in the Bible, Moses’ punishment for disobedience was being denied entry into the Promised Land?”

National Review “If being a louse were a crime, John Edwards would hang for it. But he is instead facing prison for alleged campaign-finance violations, and it is our obligation to come unenthusiastically to his defense.”

Chicago Tribune “Jurors in the federal criminal trial of John Edwards were clearly not given a primer on the intricacies of the campaign finance laws he is accused of violating. Instead, they listened to Andrew Young, the former presidential candidate’s once-trusted aide, describe how Edwards called his mistress a “crazy slut,” used a secret “Bat phone” to call her, and accepted money from rich friends to pay her expenses.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 27, 2015
Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. (AP)

A leftist victory in Greece, and anti-austerity pushback across Europe. We’ll ask where this goes.

Jan 27, 2015
As any ant knows, building a reliable team can be hard. (Flickr / Guildmn20)

From Silicon Valley to your office, some teams work better – and smarter – than others. We’ll look at the surprising reasons why.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 26, 2015
Frederick Daniel Hardy's "Baby's Birthday" (1867) shows a typical Victorian English family at home.  (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

Brush your teeth with soot, stay away from water, wear a steel corset. We’ll talk with the author of “How to be a Victorian.” Strange ways from another age.

 
Jan 26, 2015
Yemeni protesters gather during a demonstration to show their support to Houthi Shiite rebels in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Jan. 23, 2015.  (AP)

Yemen in turmoil, a new king in Saudi Arabia. We’ll look at what’s next for the Arabian Peninsula. Plus: the President’s trip to the Indian subcontinent.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment