(RNN) - Marital infidelity, a sex tape, bribes, paternity disputes, money fraud.
It's not a prime time soap opera; it's the trial of former senator and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards.
After 17 days of testimony, the jury began deliberating Friday to decide if John Edwards is guilty of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act by using donations for his 2008 presidential campaign to keep his pregnant mistress hidden.
Jurors have to decide who is a bigger liar, and who committed a crime: The former presidential candidate who cheated on his dying wife; or his aide and prosecution witness, Andrew Young, who took money from the secret donations to help build his dream home.
And it looks like it might take awhile. Friday afternoon the jury requested exhibits and office supplies, suggesting they're going to take their time with the evidence. The jury will return to deliberations Monday morning.
Edwards is accused of using $1 million from two wealthy donors to hide his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Rachel "Bunny Mellon, who is now 101 years old, donated $725,000 to the campaign. Young, used some of the money to help Hunter and the cover-up, but also used some of the money to build a $1.6 million home in North Carolina, as well as a Disney cruise and trip to Mexico. He can only account to $200,000 going to Hunter.
The former Democratic presidential candidate faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if he is found guilty. Edwards is charged with six counts of accepting illegal campaign contributions - some which exceeded campaign finance limits - conspiracy and falsifying a financial disclosure report.
Defense attorneys argued that Edwards had no knowledge of the mishandling of money and other misdeeds, and that he is only guilty of is being a horrible husband to his wife, Elizabeth, who was battling cancer at the time of the affair.
Edwards was frantic to keep his affair with Hunter from being exposed after the visibly pregnant Hunter was photographed by the National Enquirer in 2007. To distract the tabloids, Andrew Young, a former aide to John Edwards, claimed initially that the baby was his, even allowing Hunter to move in with him.
Young, who struck a deal with the government, claims the cover-up was Edwards' idea, and that Edwards hired him to solicit illegal donations.
Young penned a tell-all book in 2010, called Game Change, about the affair and cover-up.
There was plenty of inflammatory testimony in the trial, including Young's claim that he feared for his life, worried that Edwards had hired a gunman to kill him.
Cheri Young, Andrew Young's wife, who was dragged into the scandal, testified that she knew about the money, but not what it was for. She also testified that the then-presidential hopeful convinced the Youngs take the pregnant Hunter into their home.
Two of the central figures in the case, John Edwards and Rielle Hunter, were not called to the stand to testify. Edwards' daughter, Cate - who remained near her father's side during the entirety of the trial - also was not called.
Cate Edwards, 31, is John and Elizabeth Edwards' oldest daughter, who stumped for her father in both the 2004 and 2008 campaigns. It was expected that she would testify on behalf of her father to create a sympathetic picture of Edwards.
Other financing came from Fred Baron, a wealthy Texas lawyer who served as Edwards' campaign finance chairman. According to evidence in the case, Luxury hotels, $400,000 in cash and a rental mansion in Santa Barbara, CA, (at $20,000 a month) were provided by Baron to help cover up the affair between Edwards and Hunter.
Edwards' defense attorneys argued that the former candidate did not know taking the money was illegal.
Rielle Hunter, born Lisa Jo Druck, was hired as a videographer for the campaign to produce a series of videos showing life on the campaign trail. She came on board the campaign shortly after the two crossed paths in 2006 after Edwards attended a business meeting in New York.
A sex tape of Edwards and Hunter, viewed by the judge, was not shown to the jury. Defense attorneys accused Young of stealing the video from Hunter, alleging that Young was going to use it against Edwards.
Tim Toben, a supporter of Edwards, testified that he and Young joked about selling or releasing the sex tape because they're admiration for Edwards had turned to dislike. Toben had once sneaked a pregnant Hunter out of North Carolina.
Toben, who said he was disappointed in Edwards' behavior, was shocked when Edwards told him over a lunch that Barack Obama's campaign had approached him as a possible vice presidential candidate.
The former confidant approached the Obama campaign, saying they should take the National Enquirer stories seriously.
When Elizabeth Edwards learned about the Enquirer's 2007 story, Harrison Hickman, a Democratic pollster and strategist, testified that her reaction was "volcanic."
Explosive arguments between the couple were not new, and sometimes reported in the media – and even in Young's book.
"I don't mean to say this in a disparaging way. It was volcanic," Hickman testified. "She could get upset about things, but she was really upset about this."
Hickman told the court that Elizabeth Edwards worried what affect her husband's infidelities would have on her and the children.
"She kept saying, ‘I don't want to be humiliated, I don't want to have my kids to have to deal with this,'" Hickman testified.
Even after the discovery of the affair and a terminal breast cancer diagnosis, Elizabeth Edwards did not want her husband to drop out of the campaign. Hickman testified that Elizabeth Edwards wanted "her life to have a purpose."
Young's book reports – and others witnessed - that when the confrontation about the affair happened between Elizabeth and John in an airport hangar, she ripped open her blouse and yelled, "Look at me!"
The couple separated before Elizabeth's death. They had been married from 1977 to 2010.
John Edwards started his career as a trial lawyer before running for winning a U.S. Senate in 1998. Edwards was responsible for the witness depositions of Vernon Jordan, Jr. and Monica Lewinsky during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in the senate.
In 2004, Edwards did not run for re-election so that he could focus on his presidential campaign. He also ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, but failed to secure the nomination in either year.
Elizabeth Edwards died of breast cancer Dec. 7, 2010.
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