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Edwards' lawyers set to begin presenting defense

Lawyers for John Edwards set to begin presenting defense to jurors in campaign-finance trial By The Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) ' Lawyers for John Edwards will begin presenting his defense at the former presidential contender's campaign-finance trial.

The first witnesses to be called by the defense include former Federal Election Commission chairman Scott Thomas, political pollster Harrison Hickman and ex-Edwards attorney Wade Smith. Edwards' attorneys have not indicated whether he will take the stand.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts arising from alleged federal campaign-finance violations. He's accused of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

On Friday, the trial judge rejected a defense motion to dismiss the case. If convicted, the former North Carolina senator faces up to 30 years in prison.

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