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Judge rejects motion to dismiss in Edwards case

From Adam Reiss, Ted Metzger and Joe Johns

GREENSBORO, North Carolina (CNN) – The federal judge presiding in the John Edwards corruption trial on Friday turned down a motion to dismiss the charges, setting the stage for the former presidential candidate to defend his case.

Edwards is facing six felony charges over allegedly taking illegal campaign contributions, conspiracy and making false statements.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Edwards’ defense team is set begin presenting on Monday when it’s expected call its first witness.

On Thursday, prosecutors wrapped up their case, detailing hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses used by Edwards’ former mistress, whose concealment during his failed presidential run remains at the heart of the scandal.

The expenses ranged from luxury hotels to private jets to high-priced rental homes largely paid for by Fred Baron, prosecutors say, a now-deceased Texas lawyer who was Edwards’ finance chairman.

They did not call to the stand Rielle Hunter, Edward’s ex-mistress and the mother of his youngest child.

The final piece of evidence the prosecution showed was a 2008 ABC interview with Edwards in which the North Carolina Democrat denied having fathered the child.

Edwards’ defense team has argued that Andrew Young, a political aide, has largely used the money for his own personal gain, also paying for Hunter’s medical expenses during her pregnancy to hide the affair from Edwards’ wife.

Donations for that purpose, the defense has argued, cannot be considered in violation of campaign finance laws.

Young admitted earlier during questioning that he used some donations for his own personal benefit — particularly to fund construction of a home that included a pool and a theater.

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