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News Wrap: Edwards Indicted on Misuse of Campaign Funds, Pleaded Not Guilty

June 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
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KWAME HOLMAN: The jobs report reinforced Wall Street’s worries about the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 97 points to close at 12,151. The Nasdaq fell 40 points to close at 2,732. For the week, both the Dow and the Nasdaq lost more than two percent.

A federal grand jury in North Carolina has indicted two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. The government charges he illegally used campaign donations, more than $925,000, to help hide his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock baby.

Edwards pleaded not guilty at a hearing today in Winston-Salem, N.C., and professed his innocence afterward.

JOHN EDWARDS, (D) former U.S. senator: There’s no question that I have done wrong. And I take full responsibility for having done wrong.

And I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I have caused to others. But I did not break the law. And I never, ever thought I was breaking the law.

KWAME HOLMAN: Edwards’ lawyers say the funds in question were not campaign donations and were not used to protect his 2008 campaign. Instead, they say he was trying to hide the affair from his wife, Elizabeth. She died of cancer last year.

The former Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic was arraigned today at a U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Netherlands. He was granted until next month to enter his pleas. He’s charged with genocide and mass murder in the Bosnian civil war of the early 1990s. He called the indictment obnoxious.

We have a report from Bill Neely of Independent Television News.

BILL NEELY: Once, his orders spelt death; the very sight of him could terrify. Ratko Mladic is now a gray man pinned in court, his clothes as close to a uniform as he could find, a salute to the judge. He said he needed two months to read the charges against him. The judge offered to read a shortened version.

RATKO MLADIC, former Bosnian Serb general (through translator): I do not want to have a single letter or sentence of that indictment read out to me.

BILL NEELY: He didn’t want to hear what he’s accused of doing, but he had to, of killing nearly 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica.

Mention of this and the trace of a smirk crossed his face. This infuriated bereaved relatives in the court. So did his final words of proud defiance.

RATKO MLADIC (through translator): I defended my country. I am Ratko Mladic. I didn’t kill Croats as Croats, and I am not killing anyone either in Libya or in Africa. I was just defending my country.

BILL NEELY: “The whole world knows who I am,” he said, and then to the
widows of the murdered, a direct sign and a wave. He was feet from them,
protected by bulletproof glass.

KWAME HOLMAN: It’s expected the Mladic trial could last several years.

The U.N. Refugee Agency has confirmed finding the bodies of at least 150 people off Tunisia. They drowned this week when their ship capsized. The incident happened 12 miles from the Kerkennah Islands. More than 800 people were on the vessel fleeing the violence in Libya. Nearly 600 of the refugees survived. More than 100 others still are missing.

The U.S. House today rebuked President Obama for sending U.S. forces against Libya without congressional approval. All but 10 Republicans, joined by 45 Democrats, voted for the nonbinding resolution. It called for the president to provide mission details and cost figures within two weeks.

The lawmakers rejected a separate measure. It demanded an immediate end to U.S. involvement in bombing Libya, and it sparked debate over possible fallout.

REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, R-Fla.: The negative impact would be widespread, Mr. Speaker. The news that the U.S. House of Representatives had mandated a withdrawal of U.S. forces would send a ray of sunshine into the hole in which Gadhafi is currently hiding.

REP. BARNEY FRANK, D- Mass.: Let me disagree with those of my colleagues who have talked about what a terrible man Gadhafi is as a reason for the United States to be spending our money there. Yes, he’s a thug who ought to be removed, but it cannot be that America has to be the 911 for the world and that we are the ones who have to respond everywhere every time.

KWAME HOLMAN: A White House spokesman called both resolutions unnecessary and unhelpful.

Nearly 200 more E. coli infections have been confirmed in Germany in the last two days. The country’s disease control center reported the new figure today. The outbreak has infected more than 1,700 people across Europe and killed at least 18, mostly in Germany. The source of the E. coli remains a mystery.

The man who played Marshal Matt Dillon on “Gunsmoke” has died. James Arness passed away today at his home in Brentwood, Calif. “Gunsmoke” went on the air in 1955, with Arness as the marshal of Dodge City. When the show ended its run in 1975, it was the longest-lasting series in television history. That record finally was tied by “Law & Order” last year. James Arness was 88 years old.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.