John Edwards, daughter learn from each other practicing law together
After leaving politics behind, John Edwards returned to his roots to practice law again with close friend and longtime business partner David Kirby. But they now have another Edwards in the mix.
Cate Edwards joined her father’s firm when she and her husband moved back to Raleigh two years ago.
“It had always been a dream to practice with my dad,” she said in an exclusive interview with WRAL News. “I think it’s an opportunity to learn from the best.”
Cate Edwards said her father would often practice his courtroom arguments on her and her late brother, Wade Edwards, when they were children.
“We were always my dad’s first jury,” she said. ”[We] were always the first to hear his cases from his point of view, and that’s how I grew a love of the law.”
John Edwards called it “a gift from heaven” to have his daughter in the next office, practicing law next to him.
“I always wanted it. I worried it wasn’t going to happen,” he said.
The former U.S. senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate was tarnished by the scandal of his affair with a campaign aide and the resulting federal charges against him that he used campaign donations to hide his mistress and their child.
He was acquitted in a 2012 trial of accepting illegal campaign contributions, and five other charges were dismissed after jurors couldn’t reach a verdict and prosecutors chose not to pursue the case further.
John Edwards said he wasn’t sure back then he would practice law again.
“I honestly had no idea, but it’s happened,” he said. “I love what I do, so I’ve been lucky is the truth.”
Working with his daughter has been a joy, he said.
“I’ve been able to watch her up close do extraordinary work,” he said. “Cate is smart, she works incredibly hard. and – I’m a little biased – she’s gifted.”
One of her current cases is representing the family of Soheil Antonio Mojarrad, who was shot and killed by a Raleigh police officer last month.
Raleigh police said Mojarrad threatened an officer with a knife, and the officer shot him in self-defense. The State Bureau of Investigation is still reviewing the case.
“Any time you see a young man who has been shot in the side or in the back and the police are telling you a story that the man was coming at them, there’s some discrepancies there,” she said. “We’re going to continue to investigate and try to find out exactly what happened.”
Cate Edwards said she’s fortunate to be able to draw on her father’s expertise.
“We have the father/daughter dynamic, so I get to ask him questions that maybe other lawyers would be more nervous to ask him,” she said.
John Edwards said he learns from her as well.
“Cate and I largely talk about basically everything we do,” he said. “She will speak her mind and take up for what she thinks is the right thing to do, and she loves representing people who have not been treated right, have not gotten justice.”
As a mother of two young boys, Cate Edwards said it’s important for her to fight for those families.
“They are important cases. They raise questions of safety for the people of North Carolina,” she said. “We work as hard as we can to find justice for those families.”