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John Edwards

NOT GUILTY!!!

5/31/2012 1:37 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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John Edwards has just been found NOT GUILTY on one of six campaign fraud charges stemming from his 2008 run for President -- the judge declared a mistrial on the remaining counts after jurors deadlocked.

Edwards was found "not guilty" of receiving illegal campaign contributions.

The jury failed to reach a verdict on the other charges -- including three additional counts of illegal campaign contributions, one count of conspiracy, and one count of making false statements.

The jury -- 8 men, 4 women -- reached today's verdict after 9 days of deliberations.

The two-time former Presidential candidate was charged with the six counts of campaign finance fraud for allegedly using nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to hide his mistress Rielle Hunter and their lovechild from the public.

Edwards faced a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

In closing arguments, Edwards' lawyer had told the jury the money to hide his mistress came from a former campaign treasurer and an elderly supporter -- both of whom gave Edwards the money as a gift for his benefit ... not as part of his campaign.

Edwards' lawyer said the money was used to hide his affair from his dying wife, claiming, "John was a bad husband, but there is not the remotest chance that John did or intended to violate the law."

Edwards spoke briefly outside the courthouse after the verdict was read, saying how grateful he was for his children -- and when he got to the 4-year-old daughter Quinn (whom Edwards fathered with mistress Rielle Hunter) he choked up, saying, "My precious Quinn, who I love more than any of you can ever imagine, [who] I am so close to, so, so grateful for."

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We don't know if prosecutors will push for a retrial.

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