John Edwards walks -- at least for now.
The famous politician left a federal courthouse in North Carolina late Thursday afternoon thanking the jury and saying "I don't think God's through with me," after a federal judge declared a mistrial in his high-profile corruption case.
Jurors found him not guilty on just one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions but were deadlocked on the remaining five, resulting in the mistrial decision by Judge Catherine Eagles.
It's unclear whether federal prosecutors will seek to retry him. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the department had "no immediate comment" on the next step.
But a law enforcement official later told Fox News that it is unlikely the Justice Department would retry Edwards.
Emerging from a cloud of legal troubles for the first time in years, the former Democratic presidential candidate gave an emotional statement on the courthouse steps Thursday. Choking up, he spoke of his love for the child he fathered out of wedlock with his mistress Rielle Hunter. And he spoke of the future, suggesting he wasn't preparing to leave the public spotlight.
"I really believe (God) thinks there's still some good things I can do," he said. "Whatever happens with this legal stuff going forward, what I'm hopeful about is all those kids that I've seen, you know, in the poorest parts of this country and in some of the poorest places in the world, that I can help them, in whatever way I'm still capable of helping them."
Edwards also said that while he doesn't believe he did anything illegal, "I did an awful, awful lot that was wrong."
"There is no one else responsible for my sins," Edwards said. "I am responsible. And if I want to find the person who should be held accountable for my sins, honestly I don't have to go any further than the mirror. It's me. It is me and me alone."
He praised the jury, saying they "took their job very, very seriously." And in an emotional moment, he talked about "my precious Quinn" -- Frances Quinn Hunter, his daughter with Rielle Hunter. Though he initially denied he was Quinn's father after confessing to the affair, Edwards has since acknowledged paternity.
He said Thursday he loves his daughter "more than any of you could ever imagine" and is "so grateful for Quinn."
The remarks were the most anybody monitoring the case has heard from Edwards since the trial began. He did not testify on his own behalf, and neither did Hunter.
The judge's declaration Thursday capped a trial that lasted more than a month and deliberations that lasted nine days. The trial itself brought out lurid testimony from a succession of witnesses who described the behind-the-scenes drama -- with Edwards' family and his staff -- as they began to learn of his affair.
At times, the trial focused heavily on Edwards' character. Yet he was on trial strictly on charges of skirting campaign finance law by using contributions to help keep secret his extramarital affair during the 2008 campaign. Prosecutors argued he knowingly had nearly $1 million in donations channeled to his mistress to keep her silent and prevent the affair from scuttling his presidential bid. The defense argued he was merely trying to keep the secret from his wife.
The one count on which Edwards was acquitted was a charge that he received campaign contributions from wealthy donor Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in excess of the legal limit in 2008.
Other counts were similar, though the jury could not come to an agreement.
The mistrial announcement followed a day marked by confusion and miscommunication at the North Carolina courthouse. The judge initially indicated the jury was ready to announce a verdict on all counts by mid-afternoon Thursday. But the jury had only reached a verdict on one.
In response, the defense argued for a mistrial. But Eagles initially granted the prosecution's request to urge the jurors to resume deliberations.
She apologized for calling them into the courtroom and then sending them back for more discussions. "I was obviously under the impression you had reached a verdict on all six counts," Eagles said.
By late afternoon, she declared a mistrial.
Edwards, a former U.S. senator, had faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
Fox News' Jonathan Serrie and The Associated Press contributed to this report.