Nightly News | May 16, 2012
>>> now to north carolina where the defense has rested in the john edwards trial without the defend, his daughter, or mistress taking the stand. nbc's lisa myers has been covering the trial and joined us tonight from the courthouse in greensboro. good evening.
>> good evening, brian. edwards ' lawyers abruptly rested their case after little more tha 23 daz and without calling any marquee witnesses. seemingly confident they have punched enough holes in the prosecution's case to avoid a conviction. when edwards arrived today, his daughter was not with him. cate was willing to testify for her father, but the defense opted not to call her.
>> if you put your daughter on the stand and you're not willing to take the stand, that sends a negative message to the jury.
>> john road to fame through his skills of persuasion. decided to remain free rart than be cross-examined by prosecutors, but not testifying also carries risks.
>> the gamble is that the jury would have expected john edwards to take the stand and look at them under oath and say i never thought i was committing a crime.
>> less supplirprising, the decision not to call the woman at the center of the scandal, rielle hunter, who the defense worriy eied would remind the jury of all they did not like about edwards . all the demolished credibility of edward young , revealing he pocketed most of the money the government claims went to hide hunter. edwards ' defense is focused on the fine points of campaign finance law. and government alleged money used to hide hunter amounted to illegal contributions to edwards , which he denies zrb some see a big hole in the government's case.
>> they have to show a willful violation. that's always been a challenge, and there's no evidence that edwards told anyone or even thought he was committing a crime.
>> closing arguments are tomorrow, and the jury is expected to begin deliberations on friday to write what will be the final chapter in a devastating fall from grace .