Exclusive: Prosecution witness in John Edwards mistrial speaks out

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 31, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: It is a verdict we've all been waiting for. Nine days into jury deliberations, the John Edwards case ended in a mistrial when jurors found him not guilty on one charge, and they remained deadlocked on the other five.

Now, the jury acquitted Edwards of campaign finance fraud, now, the count that charged him with taking money from wealthy heiress Bunny Mellon to hide his pregnant mistress Rielle Hunter during his 2008 presidential run.

Now, the final day of deliberations delivered unprecedented drama as the jury announced in the afternoon that they could not come to an agreement on five of the six counts, and that's when the judge sent them back to deliberate even further. But one hour later they returned saying, they just couldn't reach a decision, and a mistrial was declared on the remaining counts.

Then, one more final dramatic moment. John Edwards took to the podium to react and it was nothing short of spectacular as for the first time he acknowledged his illegitimate child Quinn. Take a look.


JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I want to say first thank you for the jurors, and their incredibly hard work and their diligence. While I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong.

And then finally, my precious Quinn... who I love more than any of you could ever imagine. And I am so close to and so, so grateful for. So grateful for Quinn.


HANNITY: And joining me now with reaction to all those drama is the co-host of "The Five," Kimberly Guilfoyle, Fox News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin and in a Hannity exclusive, Fox News contributor Joe Trippi. He was on the witness list for the prosecution and he is talking about the trial for the first time tonight.

All right. Joe, we will start with you. You are on the witness list, you didn't get called. Can you shed some light on all this or anything you want to share?

JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, when you look at this result, there were six different FBI agents that either came to my house on two or three different occasions. I was interviewed a couple of times, deposed by the prosecution attorneys in the case. And I'm just one person, and there were, you know, lots of people on that list that were never called.

And for this result. I mean, a tremendous waste of, I think, of you know, FBI and Justice Department resources to get this result. And so, he admits he did a lot wrong but evidently the jury couldn't even agree that he had broken a law.

HANNITY: All right. Let's go to the definition, we have two legal experts here. Now, campaign contribution is defined as anything of value provided for the purpose of influencing the outcome of the federal election.

Now, anything of value for the purpose of the outcome of an election here. Now, we have here is money, value, the purpose here, they wanted to hide something that would influence the election.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST, "THE FIVE": Influence the outcome, favorably.

HANNITY: Influence the outcome. All right.

GUILFOYLE: From Mr. Edwards.

HANNITY: So, legally do you think that he broke the law?

GUILFOYLE: Here's the deal. In terms of the elements which you've laid out, in terms of the charge, sure, they have the evidence that if jury believed it to be credible, they could have reached a guilty verdict on that count that they acquitted and some of the others in fact that they were deadlocked on. I think that the real problem with this besides some of the charges being a little obscure, a little ambiguous, kind of a novel approach by the prosecution, was really in the jury selection in terms of the people that they had that were evaluating this case. You had jurors that were dressing in similar outfits and everything, very bizarre.


MERCEDES COLWIN, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Intent is the biggest issue. And I think Kimberly is absolutely right about those other issues. But intent was the biggest issue. There was no smoking gun here. The jurors didn't see any evidence, didn't hear anyone say that John Edwards knew that this was taking place and he knew that the laws were being broken. And without intent you can't have it --

HANNITY: I learned, I don't question juries. Sometimes they get it right, most times I think they get it right. I think they always go in with the best of intentions, they want to follow the law. But if we look at this very closely, a campaign contribution, anything of value provided for -- for the purpose of influencing the outcome of an election. For the purpose. So weren't they trying to basically donate money, circumvent the law for the purpose of -- you are shaking your head.

COLWIN: No. Because there are two things. There's two tracks here. And this is why the jury did what they did. You have to show the intent. We will set that aside. But they also said, wait a minute, this is about hiding and the baby. He was a married man and had other children.

HANNITY: I'm looking at the legal language counselor.

COLWIN: I understand that, your honor. But the jury got it right because they'd never saw the fact that there was intent by John Edwards to knowingly commit this type of fraud.

GUILFOYLE: I don't know that the jury got it right necessarily. I think the evidence was definitely there. It came down to an issue of credibility and you had Andrew Young, who is an individual who has had some questionable credibility. He's been caught in a number of situations where there were some false statements that have been alleged to have been made but when he takes the stand he says, believe me now.


GUILFOYLE: But this is somebody who also received financial benefit and avoided prosecution Sean, which of course, of course he's going to quickly cooperate with the prosecution.

HANNITY: But we're looking the how, when, why, where in this case. So, really he was in jeopardy here. In other words, there was a chance of a little bit more evidence, you're saying that they could have gotten the guilty verdict but maybe it wasn't a strongest case as presented to the jury.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, I think that's a fair statement. I think with the different, you know, set of jurors, you could have. I mean, this was a jury that seems to be pretty cohesive in terms of you have them dressing the same. It's like -- were matching outfits and things like that.

HANNITY: I got to get back to Trippi. Go ahead. He is dying to get in.

COLWIN: Because you look at Andrew Young and you are right, Kimberly. He said, he lied to the whole nation. I am Quinn's father. Suddenly he's on the stand saying, believe me. But the other thing that really incriminated him, the fact that most of the money, the Bunny money --

HANNITY: The Bunny money?

GUILFOYLE: The funny Bunny money.

COLWIN: Went to build $650,000 house, get a $100,000 pool.

HANNITY: That's true.

COLWIN: So, if the majority of the money didn't even to go Edwards at all or to Rielle or Quinn. And we'll talk about Young being the benefactor, how could the crime of it committed?

HANNITY: Joe, I don't know to the extent you want to get involved in this or maybe explain this to the audience. But I know a lot of people, and I interviewed Andrew Young, a lot of people that were around Edwards. They all knew that this was true.

Do you want to weigh in that maybe you knew something, maybe you didn't know something? I'm not putting you on the spot or anything.

TRIPPI: No, no, no.

GUILFOYLE: Yes, you are.

TRIPPI: No, look, I came into the campaign in April. And Rielle Hunter and Andrew had both disappeared before that in October. So, I actually --

HANNITY: And you didn't hear any, you know, why or how come?

TRIPPI: Sure, when the National Inquirer came out, I like a lot of people, thought you know, yes, the Martians --

HANNITY: Yes, the picture holding the baby up was a pretty key moment.

TRIPPI: That came after the election. But, Sean, look, one of -- the charge he was found innocent on, that they unanimously found him innocent on was a check that the campaign -- or not the campaign, but it was never cashed by anybody until after the election was over. Which is why a bunch of jurors could figure out, wait a minute, how could that be about protecting his candidacy? His candidacy had ended before, you know, before the check was ever cashed.

HANNITY: All right.

TRIPPI: But that one they found him innocent on. I mean, this are all, look, it's all -- no one that I knew in the campaign, whether they knew or didn't know, condoned what had happened or would have condoned it. He did a lot wrong. But I think the jury made the right -- what happened in the case was the right thing here. I don't know what --

HANNITY: We are running out of time.

TRIPPI: -- how society would have been served.

HANNITY: Let me bring back our attorneys here. He was not a sympathetic figure. I mean, this gives a whole new meaning to what two Americas is all about. I guess he was talking about, you know, one wife, one girlfriend, one plus one -- all right, forget it. But he's got a sympathetic figure, we got the picture of him, you know, doing the hair thing on YouTube.

GUILFOYLE: Wait. He comes off as an arrogant narcissist. He wanted to have it -- entitled.

HANNITY: He does. But he denied of ever having knowledge of Rielle Hunter back in July of '08. He said, he would take a paternity test. And meanwhile, he's having his closest aide. Do you think the jury, knowing he's not a sympathetic figure but knowing that the wife had passed away and the children would not have the father, is this in the jury's mind?

GUILFOYLE: You are saying injure nullification that perhaps they factored it in especially with the daughter Kate there everyday?

COLWIN: I think that's why they were tortured for so long because there was this reaction to John Edwards. He's vilified. I mean, no one cares for him, no one likes him. He's been vilified nationally. He certainly came across as a flawed figure when he did his press conference. He's been punished enough. It's basically -- but I think it resonated with that jury.

HANNITY: I got to run. Guys, good to see you.

GUILFOYLE: Thank you.

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