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John Edwards trial: The defense rests

Neither Edwards nor the former Democratic presidential candidate's ex-mistress were called to testify.

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Former US senator John Edwards arrives at a memorial service for U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in August 2009 in Boston. (Chris Hondros/AFP/Getty Images)

The defense team for John Edwards rested its case Wednesday without calling the former Democratic presidential candidate or his ex-mistress to the witness stand.

Defense attorneys also chose not to call Edwards' eldest daughter, Cate, and prosecution star witness Andrew Young, a former Edwards campaign aide, before wrapping up their case. Closing arguments are set for Thursday, with jury deliberations expected to begin Friday, according to CNN.

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The defense called a series of witnesses in the past two days aimed at shifting the jury's focus from the lurid details of a political sex scandal to the legal question of whether the Edwards' actions violated federal campaign finance laws, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors spent nearly three weeks trying to convince a jury that Edwards masterminded a conspiracy to use nearly $1 million secretly provided by two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, as he ran for the White House in 2008, according to the AP.

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The 58-year-old former senator is charged with six counts of violating federal campaign finance laws.

He faces 30 years in jail and $1.5 million in fines if convicted on all charges, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Edwards has made no public statements since October, following a pre-trial hearing where a judge refused to throw out the criminal case against him.

"After all these years, I finally get my day in court and people get to hear my side of this, and what actually happened," the AP reported Edwards saying last year on the steps of the federal courthouse in Greensboro, N.C. "And what I know with complete and absolute certainty is I didn't violate campaign laws and I never for a second believed I was violating campaign laws."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120516/john-edwards-trial-the-defense-rests