Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John Edwards may be indicted on misuse of campaign funds to cover up affair

The Justice Department plans to move ahead with criminal charges against the former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, contending that he misused campaign funds to cover up an affair with his mistress, a person close to Mr. Edwards said Wednesday morning.

“DOJ has made its decision to move forward with charges,” the person said in an e-mail.

Mr. Edwards, 57, has been the subject of a two-year investigation into whether he used more than $1 million in political donations to hide his affair with Rielle Hunter, his campaign videographer, while he ran for president in 2008. Hunter was an aide in Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign.

Edwards has denied any misuse of campaign funds.

If Mr. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina and trial lawyer, makes a plea arrangement, he could admit to wrongdoing and avoid a costly trial.

A former top aide, Andrew Young, told a federal grand jury during nine hours of testimony in 2009 that Edwards had directed a well-funded campaign to keep the media away from Hunter -- and hide the fact that Hunter had given birth to a daughter. Young initially had claimed he was father of Hunter's child, but Edwards later admitted that he fathered the girl.

Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, died last year of cancer.

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