This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 14, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Tonight we continue our special series on the future vice president, John Edwards, with an in depth look at his career as a trial attorney.
John Edwards, the lawyer, first made national news in 1997 winning $25 million, the largest settlement in North Carolina history, for a little girl who had been hideously injured by the drain of a wading pool.
His rhetorical skill not only convinced the jury and made a supporter out of the judge presiding over the case.
Joining us from North Carolina is that judge that presided over that case and a Kerry supporter, retired Superior Court Judge Robert Farmer.
Judge, thank you for being with us tonight.
JUDGE ROBERT FARMER, RETIRED JUDGE: Thank you.
COLMES: Did you have any sense when you were presiding over that trial that this was a man who would perhaps one day be where he is now?
FARMER: No, not running for vice president. I thought he would keep on being a trial [lawyer]; he was so good at it.
COLMES: You know, a lot of people are going to say this guy is supposed to be impartial. He's a judge. Now he's showing his true Democratic colors.
At what point did you become a Kerry and/or Edwards supporter?
FARMER: I became a supporter January 1 of this year, because I was a judge for 25 years and you cannot support other candidates by money, by word of mouth or anything else. So when I retired January 1, then I became a supporter of John Edwards.
COLMES: Now I understand in the wading pool incident, he turned down $17.5 million, took a huge gamble, convinced the family to turn down an incredible offer, thinking he could do even better. Well, that already would have been a record award.
What your take on that and what did that tell you about John Edwards?
FARMER: I did not know it at the time, I knew it after the trial was over. But it indicated to me that he was extremely confident, not only in his own ability, but in being able to have the facts presented to this jury in a way that they were going to return a verdict larger than that $17 million.
COLMES: I understand that people came from all over to see his closing arguments. Can you tell us what it is, what it was about him as an attorney that attracted so much attention?
FARMER: John Edwards is probably the best-prepared trial lawyer I've ever seen in a courtroom in my 25 years. He's extremely brilliant. And when he did his final argument to the jury, it lasted about an hour and a half.
The courtroom had been empty most of the two months but all of the young lawyers in Raleigh turned out to watch, what I think they considered to be, the master, argue to a jury.
And what they saw was a man who argued for an hour and a half or more and never used a note. He had it all in his head. He'd studied this case from beginning to end and I think the jury realized that he knew what he was talking about.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: All right. Judge, you're a supporter of his. You've even gone to campaign for him, as I understand it, and I just want to get that on the record for our audience.
HANNITY: The case you're talking about, I actually thought it was a very valid case about the drain in the pool and this young girl that was hurt and I thought it was a devastating case.
But there are other cases and allegations by people that Senator Edwards used junk science to get these huge jury award amounts, in the case of saying that problems during the birthing process caused cerebral palsy.
I have a lot of quotes from people. For example, "What he has done with those lawsuits has increased the cost of medicine. He's not changed the practice of medicine in a way that you can see that there are fewer cases in any way, forcing doctors into retirement."
What about those charges?
FARMER: I do not know of any case that you are talking about, because I've never heard of it as a trial judge.
HANNITY: Well, apparently, it became a point of expertise for him. He did this quite often, these particular cases.
FARMER: Well, let me make one thing clear. When you say John Edwards is getting money from doctors and perhaps insurance companies, it's juries that make the awards, not trial lawyers.
The trial lawyer has nothing to do with the award to this little child. It's totally a jury of 12 people. And in North Carolina, it has to be unanimous.
HANNITY: Well, there are medical studies, for example, that went back to the 1980s which asserted doctors could do very little to cause cerebral palsy (search) during the birthing process.
And there were two new studies that came out in 2003 that said as much, and even well-known doctors in the field but he had a series of cases that he was involved with where he won fairly big awards.
For example I know that David Sousa (search), general counsel to the Medical Mutual insurance company of North Carolina, said, "He made a fortune suing ordinary people, ordinary doctors who paid liability insurance. He has single-handedly put this state in a position where we are losing good doctors. He's done a tremendous amount of damage."
So what you're describing is somebody who may be slick, but was he honest? Did he use real science? Did he abuse the system? Did he bring out the worst in what we see as a trial lawyer? This is what they're saying.
FARMER: Well, they may say that, but I have not observed that in any courtroom with John Edwards. I think he maintains the highest standard of ethical conduct that any lawyer could.
HANNITY: Could it be because you're a supporter of his?
FARMER: I would have said that before Jan. 1 when I was on the bench.
HANNITY: But you supported him then.
COLMES: Thank you very much, Judge Farmer, for being with us. Thank you for your time tonight.
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