Published: May 14, 2012 11:02 AM EDT

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Lawyers for John Edwards will begin presenting his defense today at the former presidential contender's campaign-finance trial. The first witnesses to be called by the defense include former Federal Election Commission chairman Scott Thomas, political pollster Harrison Hickman and ex-Edwards attorney Wade Smith. Edwards' attorneys have not indicated whether he will take the stand. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts arising from alleged federal campaign-finance violations. He's accused of masterminding a scheme to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. On Friday, the trial judge rejected a defense motion to dismiss the case. If convicted, the former North Carolina senator faces up to 30 years in prison.