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Defense rests in John Edwards trial

Posted at 1:00 PM, May 16, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-16 13:11:42-04

By the CNN Wire Staff

GREENSBORO, North Carolina (CNN) – The defense team for John Edwards rested its case Wednesday without calling the former Democratic presidential candidate’s ex-mistress to testify at his corruption trial.

Attorneys for Edwards also chose not to call his eldest daughter, Cate, and prosecution star witness Andrew Young, a former Edwards campaign aide, before wrapping up their case. [COMPLETE COVERAGE: John Edwards trial]

Last week, prosecutors also did not to call former mistress Rielle Hunter to the stand before they rested their case.

Closing arguments are set for Thursday, with the jury deliberations expected to begin Friday.

The former U.S. senator’s trial is under way in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is charged with six counts of illegal campaign contributions, conspiracy and falsifying documents. The trial is in its fourth week. If found guilty on all charges, Edwards would face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

The government alleges Edwards “knowingly and willingly” accepted large amounts of money from wealthy campaign donors to hide Hunter and her pregnancy in an effort to remain a viable candidate in his 2008 presidential campaign.

Hunter lives a distance from Edwards in North Carolina. However, they both parent their 4-year-old daughter.

A friend and adviser to Edwards testified Tuesday that the candidate appeared surprised to learn that an elderly heiress sent money that ended up going to Hunter and Young.

The defense, which began its case Monday, has argued that Young largely used the money for his own personal gain, while also paying for Hunter’s medical expenses during her pregnancy in an effort to hide the affair from Edwards’ wife. Donations for that purpose, the Edwards team has argued, cannot be considered in violation of campaign finance laws.

CNN’s Raelyn Johnson and Adam Reiss contributed to this report.