Donor intent may be the key to the Edwards case. Walter Shapiro of TNR explains:
Count Two in the indictment is much more straightforward—and, based on my reporting, potentially more hazardous for Edwards. This charge centers on the allegation that the candidate and his aide Andrew Young solicited and received $725,000 from nonagenarian philanthropist Bunny Mellon in 2007 and 2008, money that was used to cover up Edwards’s affair—and that exceeded the legal limit of $25,000 in aggregate campaign contributions per election cycle.
Up to now, the pre-trial coverage has assumed that Mellon, like Baron, was intent on helping Edwards cover up his philandering. But the trial will raise the strong possibility—and you will have to trust me on the sourcing for this—that the then-97-year-old socialite was as ignorant of the existence of Rielle Hunter (or any other Other Woman) as any Democratic voter besotted with John Edwards. When she was asked for the money, delivered in seven installments beginning in June 2007, she apparently thought that she was donating in some round-robin fashion to the Edwards campaign, not covering up an affair.
I am out of ammunition on the vagaries of campaign finance law.