John Edwards trial: The defense rests without calling candidate or mistress Rielle Hunter

The defense in the John Edwards corruption trial rested on Wednesday morning in Greensboro, N.C., without calling the former presidential candidate, his daughter Cate or Rielle Hunter, his former mistress, mother of his 4-year-old love child and the woman at the center of the scandal that spawned the federal case against him.

According to MSNBC, "crowds had lined up two hours before court opened ... anticipating they might get an opportunity to hear from the principal players."

But Judge Catherine Eagles told jurors that no more witnesses would be called to testify at the trial, now in its 18th day. Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday. Jury deliberations will follow, likely on Friday.

Edwards faces six criminal counts—including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of making false statements—for allegedly soliciting and secretly spending over $925,000 to cover up his affair with Hunter during the 2008 presidential election. If convicted on all six counts, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Prosecutors spent nearly three weeks delving into the salacious details of Edwards' affair. Lawyers for Edwards began presenting their case on Monday by shifting attention to something entirely less sexy: campaign finance law.

On Tuesday, records introduced at trial showed that Hunter was given $9,000 a month in cash for living expenses by Edwards' campaign finance chairman, Fred Baron, in 2008.

Baron began making regular deposits into Hunter's checking account in June 2008. Edwards, who by then had already ended his presidential bid but still had hopes of running for vice president, was trying to hide Hunter from public view. Lawyers for Edwards say the money was a personal donation unrelated to the campaign. Baron died in December 2008.

Cate Edwards Upton, a 30-year-old lawyer, had been expected to testify on her father's behalf. It was unclear whether Hunter, who was on the witness lists for the prosecution and defense, would be called.

In the end, it seems lawyers for Edwards concluded that putting Hunter or the candidate himself on the witness stand was just too risky.