The jury will begin deciding the fate of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards Friday, a day after closing arguments concluded in the corruption trial.
Before the closing arguments in the Greensboro, North Carolina courtroom, Edwards' defense team rested its case without calling him to testify.
The jury should begin deliberating Friday morning because the judge read instructions to the jury late Thursday afternoon.
Attorneys for Edwards also chose not to call his eldest daughter, Cate, and prosecution star witness Andrew Young, a former Edwards campaign aide, before wrapping up their case Wednesday.
The government alleges Edwards "knowingly and willingly" accepted large amounts of money from wealthy campaign donors Fred Baron and Rachel Mellon to hide former mistress Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy in an effort to remain a viable candidate in his 2008 presidential campaign.
CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the defense team's failure to call more witnesses did not necessarily signify anything.
"The defense clearly feels that its core argument is already before the jurors --- which is that, whatever you think of Edwards as a human being, there is no way that he regarded the payments by Baron and Mellon as campaign contributions," Toobin said.
He is charged with six counts of illegal campaign contributions, conspiracy and falsifying documents. The trial is in its fourth week. If found guilty on all charges, Edwards would face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.
Hunter lives a distance from Edwards in North Carolina. However, they both parent their 4-year-old daughter.
After not attending court Wednesday, Cate Edwards was back in the courtroom for closing arguments Thursday, joining her grandparents behind John Edwards.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon went first, shaping a narrative for the jury a narrative that started on December 30, 2006, the day Edwards announced his run for president.
On that day, the prosecution said, Edwards had already sown "the seeds of the destruction of his campaign" by engaging in an affair with Rielle Hunter.
Using the "seeds of destruction" as a refrain, Higdon marched through the facts of the case chronologically, holding Edward responsible for both for the predicament he found himself in and the "scheme" that sought to cover up his affair and child with Hunter.
Prosecutors asserted that Edwards knew his political ambitions depended on keeping the affair secret.
"There is no question it would destroy the campaign of John Edwards," Higdon said.
According to the prosecution, it was Edwards who manipulated Andrew Young, and others, to hide his mistress. The prosecution did admit Young made several mistakes over the years, including: keeping the money given to him by Mellon, not confronting Edwards earlier about his behavior, and falsely claiming paternity for Edwards' child with Hunter.
The prosecution argued that since Edwards had a career in politics that reached back to 1998, first as a senator, then as a candidate for president, Edwards was familiar with the campaign finance laws.
"He knew these rules well," Higdon said, including what it meant to ask donors to "max out" to his campaign, the legal limit an individual can give to a campaign.
Therefore, he should have known that the contributions from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron were breaking campaign finance laws, Higdon argued.
Part of the government's burden in the case is proving that Edwards "knowingly and willingly" broke the law.
Defense lawyer Abbe Lowell followed with a two hour closing argument that was interrupted by a lunch break.
"This is a case that should define the difference between someone committing a wrong and someone committing a crime," Lowell said, "between a sin and a felony."
Just because "John," as Lowell referred to his client, "was a bad husband, someone who lied to his family," it doesn't mean he is guilty, Lowell said.
There is "not the remotest chance that John violated federal campaign laws," Lowell said. He noted that if what Edwards did was a crime, "the government better build a lot more courtrooms" because more politicians would be subject to prosecution.
Lowell spent a good portion of his time discrediting Andrew Young, telling the jury "there is nothing he won't lie about, nothing."