Rielle Hunter is the remaining wild card in the John Edwards trial. Will she or won't she testify? And if she does testify, what might she say? Prosecutors are hoping to conclude their case against the former senator and onetime presidential contender over alleged campaign finance violations by week's end, but it's still unclear whether they will chance having Hunter on the stand. She was, after all, a disruptive presence during Edwards' campaign back in 2008, considered by those close to him to be dangerous for his run for presidency and even, by Edwards himself, a "crazy slut." In the three weeks of the Edwards trial, Bob Woodruff, James Hill, and Beth Lloyd explain in an ABC News piece, "Hunter has been called 'crazy' and a 'loose cannon' who relied on a 'spiritual adviser' for everything from the right dressing for a Reuben sandwich to the best place to have the baby Edwards secretly fathered."
So, will the prosecution actually risk having her on the stand? And what might they gain—or lose—if they do?
Edwards reportedly considered Monday a good day for himself in the trial, in which he's facing 30 years in prison if convicted. A letter Bunny Mellon had dictated to him was excluded as evidence, and Mellon's lawyer Alex Forger testified that Mellon had given Edwards money as a personal gift, not as an explicit campaign donation, because, simply, she liked him. Remember, Edwards is on trial for using campaign donations to hide his affair with Hunter and the fact she was pregnant to the voting public. Presumably, her insights could reveal much about what actually happened. Yet, per ABC News:
"It is dangerous to call her at the end, because if she flops for the government, it's not the note that you want to end on," former prosecutor Kieran Shanahan told ABC News. "At the same time, I just think the story is incomplete without her and she will acknowledge that she did receive the money."
Edwards claims that he never asked Mellon for money personally, and that former aide Andrew Young was after the money for himself, partly to build his dream house. Edwards also claims that he was trying to hide Hunter from Elizabeth Edwards and not from the government or the American public. In contrast, the prosecution needs to establish that Edwards "willfully, personally and routinely asked Mellon for money," and that he was aware of the money Mellon got to Young, which then went to Hunter, during Edwards' presidential bid.