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Edwards, who lives in Chapel Hill, didn’t comment on the dismissal and a spokesman for his lawyers said one would not be forthcoming.

In a brief statement on the courthouse steps two weeks ago after the conclusion of his trial, Edwards denied doing anything illegal but acknowledged he had done much that was wrong.

“There is no one else responsible for my sins,” Edwards said, before expressing hope for his future. “I don’t think God’s through with me. I really believe he thinks there’s still some good things I can do.”

The trial exposed a sordid sex scandal that unfolded while Edwards‘ wife, Elizabeth, was dying of cancer, including the most intimate details of his affair with Hunter. But despite recounting the salacious details of his family tragedy, legal experts said the government failed to prove Edwards knowingly violated campaign finance law.

Bruce Reinhart, a criminal defense attorney who was a federal prosecutor for 19 years, said the prosecution’s theory in this case was “aggressive.”

“I think they were trying to plow new ground, but I can’t say they were wrong to bring the case,” said Reinhart, who spent eight years in the Justice Department’s public integrity section, which prosecuted Edwards. “Sometimes you have to bring tough cases, and tough cases are hard to win.”

He said it spoke well of prosecutors that they dropped the case.

“It’s always easier to take another shot and then blame the jury if the jury doesn’t convict,” Reinhart said. “It takes a lot of integrity to say ‘enough is enough and we’re going to walk away.’”

From the start, lawyers for Edwards painted the prosecution as politically motivated. The investigation was originally spearheaded by George Holding, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Appointed by President George W. Bush, Holding made a name for himself with criminal probes of high profile Democrats, including the state’s former governor. When President Barack Obama came into office, Holding managed to forestall being replaced by a Democrat for years while the Edwards investigation was ongoing. He eventually resigned in 2011 as Edwards was indicted and soon announced his candidacy for Congress, winning in the GOP primary last month.

The final decision to prosecute was made by the Obama administration and the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section. Once highly admired, the section’s reputation suffered after a corruption conviction against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska was overturned in 2009 after it was found prosecutors knowingly concealed evidence and allowed false testimony to be presented at trial.

Holding said Wednesday he had no regrets and lauded the prosecutors in the section and the best in the Justice Department.

“You can’t look in hindsight and figure out which case you should or shouldn’t bring,” Holding said. “The cases come to you and you have to make a decision based on the law and the facts that are presented to you at the time they come in.”

After two years of public denials, Edwards announced he was the father of Hunter’s baby, Francis Quinn Hunter, in January 2010. The girl is now 4 years old and lives with her mother in Charlotte. Last month, Edwards expressed his love for Quinn, who he described as precious.

Edwards‘ eldest daughter, Cate Edwards, reacted to Wednesday’s decision through her Twitter account. She sat behind her father in the courtroom nearly every day of his lengthy trial.

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