Former senator John Edwards set his sights on securing a place on the Supreme Court even as his once-promising political career was collapsing around him amid a seedy sex scandal.
On the same day the prosecution rested in the case against Edwards - who is accused of being the mastermind behind a plan to use secret payments to hide his pregnant mistress - his former policy adviser said it was his ultimate goal to have a place on the highest court in the land.
Over the last three weeks, prosecutors called to the witness stand some of his closest friends and advisers, many of whom gave dramatic, unflattering testimony about the former presidential candidate.
The trial centers on whether Edwards knew what the money was being used for, and when he knew it.
Today: The prosecution rested against former presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards in Greensboro, North Carolina, after three weeks of calling close friends and advisers to the stand
Defense lawyers for John Edwards Allison Van Laningham, Abbe Lowell and Alan Duncan: Defense will now take over after the prosecution rested today
While the past 14 days of testimony has focused on the money trail, the trial has also revisited Edwards' breathtaking fall.
He had an affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer on his campaign, as he renewed his marriage vows to his cancer-stricken wife.
He fathered a child with Hunter and then a decision was made for his right-hand man to claim paternity so Edwards could keep up his lofty political ambitions. And he lied repeatedly to his wife, his advisers and the public.
Delusional: It was also revealed today that Edwards
had dreams of having a place on the Supreme Court
Jurors will have to look beyond Edwards' character, though. As prosecutors wrapped up their case, they showed the jury records detailing the money spent to hide Hunter — $319,500 in cash, luxury hotels, private jets and a $20,000-a-month rental mansion in Santa Barbara, California.
The bills, flashed up on a large screen for the jury to see, were all paid by Fred Baron, a wealthy Texas lawyer who served as Edwards' 2008 campaign finance chairman.
Baron began paying the expenses after tabloid reporters tracked down the pregnant mistress in Chapel Hill, where she had been secretly living in a house rented for her only a few miles from the Edwards family estate.
Hunter was being closely watched over by Edwards' once-close confidant, Andrew Young, who falsely claimed paternity of boss' baby as the tabloid prepared to expose the affair.
As part of the cover-up, Baron paid for Hunter — and Young and his wife — to cross the country on private flights worth more than $80,000 and stay in waterfront hotel suites costing nearly $44,000, including bar tabs and frequent room service.
Baron also leased a mansion in Santa Barbara for the mistress as she prepared to give birth, with total costs over the next eight months totaling $184,378.
Several witnesses testified that Edwards knew what the money was spent on; others were less definitive.
The government must prove Edwards had criminal intent, and his defense team will ask U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles on Friday to dismiss the case, arguing they haven't proven their case.
If the judge allows the trial to go forward, the defense will begin presenting its side Monday — and may call Hunter to testify. Edwards could also take the stand in his own defense.