GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Federal prosecutors must now decide if they will retry John Edwards on the five remaining criminal counts that the jury said they were undecided on.
Legal experts who have followed the trial were nearly unanimous in their opinion on the matter.
"I think the government needs to step back and look at what happened," said former federal prosecutor Kieran Shanahan, who had been in the courtroom nearly every day.
He said the government would again face the reality that the key players--like the millionaires who gave the money that was allegedly used to stash Edwards' mistress--never made it into the courtroom.
"Bunny Mellon, 101 years old. Fred Baron, dead. Even Elizabeth Edwards has passed away. They will never be able to be witnesses in this case," Shanahan said.
NBC's legal analyst for the trial, Hampton Dellinger, said, "Always the hurdle for the federal government was John Edwards' criminal intent. They had to show that he knowingly and willfully violated the Federal Elections Campaign Act. They didn't have direct evidence of that."
Dellinger said it was a case that was the first of its kind, and given the outcome, it would likely be the last.
"If you can't prove your case, move on," said Shanahan.
Of the six counts, the jury could reach a verdict of not guilty on only one. The government now has to decide if it will retry Edwards on the remaining five.
Noting that Edwards looked more relaxed as he left the courtroom, Shanahan said, "No time to celebrate as they await the outcome of the decision on whether we are going to retry this case."
The government may give some hint in the next two weeks. The trial judge has set a hearing on the matter for June 14.