Former presidential, vice presidential candidate John Edwards indicted
June 3rd, 2011
10:20 AM ET

Former presidential, vice presidential candidate John Edwards indicted

Former senator and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards was indicted Friday on six counts, including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws.

Edwards is scheduled to appear in federal court in Winston Salem, North Carolina, at 2:30 p.m. ET, according to a Justice Department official.

Plea discussions had been ongoing between Edwards' defense lawyers and federal prosecutors, but no agreement was reached.  Edwards had not wanted to plead guilty to a felony because he could lose his law license, a source familiar with the inquiry previously told CNN.

A grand jury has been investigating that money given to support Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter by benefactors of Edwards should have been considered campaign donations - a contention Edwards' team has disputed.

Edwards had not wanted to plead guilty to a felony because he could lose his law license, a source familiar with the inquiry previously told CNN.

The case involves the financial aid given to Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter. During their affair, Hunter became pregnant with Edwards' baby, though at first he denied he was the father.

Read the indictment (PDF)

While prosecutors believe the monetary help given to Hunter by two of Edwards' political backers should have been considered campaign donations, Edwards' attorneys disagree.

Edwards' attorney Greg Craig has said his client "has done wrong in his life - and he knows it better than anyone - but he did not break the law." He said the government's theory of the case "is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law."

The government is believed to be building its case that Edwards violated campaign finance law on an 11-year-old advisory opinion issued by the Federal Election Commission, which asserted that a gift to a candidate for federal office would be considered a campaign contribution, a source with knowledge of the inquiry told CNN this week.

The decision, dated June 14, 2000, is known as "Harvey." It's named after a man named Phillip Harvey who sought guidance from the FEC because he wanted to give money to someone who was preparing to run for federal office, but didn't want the money to be used for campaign purposes.

The opinion is important because Hunter received more than $1 million from two contributors - 100-year-old philanthropist Rachel "Bunny" Mellon of Virginia and attorney Fred Baron, who has since died.

Edwards' attorneys have said that the money was not and should not be considered political contributions. If it wasn't a political contribution, what was it? The most widely reported theory - which the Edwards team has publicly neither confirmed nor denied - is that the money was given to keep Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, from finding out about his mistress and child.

The source with knowledge of the inner workings of the case and other legal observers have noted that the advisory opinion is shaky ground to base a federal prosecution on because it is not a black-letter federal statute, and apparently has not been cited in any important case law, or as legal authority behind any important court decisions.

Federal prosecutors in North Carolina have declined to comment on the case because it is a matter relating to a grand jury.

Other experts have said the Justice Department would have a strong case in court if it could prove Edwards knew about the funds and what they were being used for – a contention he has denied.

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Filed under: John Edwards • Politics
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Anthony's Case Posts

    You people and your theories. Casey has some serious problems that all can agree. Lying is the least. Nothing that has come to light has ever shown that at any time she had any remorse over the death of her daughter, however she died. How sad that such a tragic end to little Caylee is hid behind so many unknowns. I welcome the final outcome with sadness as there will never be a good end to this.
    Was the paternity of Caylee ever established? Consider this……. What if Caseys’ father was the father of Caylee and Casey did this out of revenge for the molestation (if it ever took place) What a web we weave

    June 3, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Anthony's Case Posts

    so basically is everyones fault but hers… because” I was molested by my father , because the other people hid the body, because my brother molested me too” and the list goes on .. really?? little to late to come up with all those “facts” dont you think that the time to do it was at the beginning of all this ??? even if it was true her multiple lies and lack of credibility , he lack of emotion and concern, even if she knew her daughter was dead, no remorse no soul expression durin in the entire process and suddenly the water works for the jury… c’mon!

    June 3, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Isotta-Fraschini

    How does John Edward's hair look?

    June 3, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Isotta-Fraschini

    Sorry for the wrong possessive. I meant
    John Edwards's hair.
    And don't argue with me.
    See Strunk and White.
    Moses' laws.
    Jesus' words.
    John Edwards's hair.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  5. Men in the white coats

    @Anthony's: It's time to reevaluate your life. Go outside it's beautiful. The birds are chirping the sun is out and the breeze is cool. I thought I was miserable until I met you. Thank you for that bit of therapy.

    June 3, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Auntie Depressant

    John Edwards.....what an em bare a$$ ment to the Dummycratic party!

    June 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Anthony's Case Posts

    I do not think her dad molested her. I believe this young woman is a sociopath. Nothing is ever her fault. She would only go far enough to admit she “knew” little Caylee was dead, however she COULD NOT and WOULD NOT admit she did it. She threw her entire family under the bus to save herself. What kind of person does this to her entire family? If what she is alleging her father did to her is a lie….she is going to roast in hell. That is the most AWFUL thing she could have done to him. I only hope that this man can make it through these accusations. What does her family think of her…..WOW is all I can say about Ms Casey Anthony…..”she is something else”

    June 3, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank ( R-Ohio )

    "...has done wrong in his life...and he knows this better than anyone...but he did not break the law"
    That's kind of like willfully committing murder, then, at the drop of a hat, your legal counsel says " you can't prosecute this man...he seen the knife cut her throat...and he knows it...but it's the Devil that made him do it"
    John Edwards – Why do you waste our time with this?

    June 3, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jj

    if this was sarah palin in the hot seat oh how the opinions would be different on here. bet i wouldnt hear anything @ wasting our time... just a thought

    June 3, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moot

      I don't really like Patin either, but the media and blogs attack her and bristol daily. Everyone knows there are partisans who forgive transgressions based on party affiliation.

      June 3, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Glenn D

    Its not just about the money, its about being heatless. The only thing different about Newt and Edwars is that Newt has not used campaign funds

    June 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anthony's Case Posts

    Here is a girl who lied about her daughters whereabouts, and is trying to pin the murder on someone else we all know she did it she is nothing but a two faced liar, who should pay dearly for what she has done. it is like the susan smith case all over again. i personally think she should die for the murder.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CSnSC

    Hey 'Anthony' you just posted that 'thats all there is to say about that'. Please, in the name of God let that be true !

    June 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Hey JJ, got a job you filthy maggot.

    June 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anthony's Case Posts

    This whole story is amazing to me. Its hard to believe this child died and the father (George) helped his daughter cover it up, being a former officer he should have known the mother would be the 1st and obvious suspect, so why not come out with the truth, like some1 said if it happened that way the coroner wld find water in the lungs, now the defense comes up with this she drowned story, no way to prove it 100% and u want a jury to just by that from som1 who just admited she lied all this time. I just hope none of this jury has any blood relation to any of the jurors on the OJ case, cause all those jurors were and still are 100% retarded. Burn in hell OJ. and the idiots who let you off

    June 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jj

    little scesar im workin now for 35 bucks an hour while your milkin the govt teat you h.o.m.o!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
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