Everything you need to know about John Edwards
May 31st, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Everything you need to know about John Edwards

Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008, and Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004. He is accused of six counts stemming from allegations that he accepted illegal campaign contributions, falsified documents and conspired to receive and conceal the contributions. The maximum sentence if convicted on all six counts would be 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Photos: John Edwards' career

Major dates

* December 27, 2006: John Edwards announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He suspends his campaign on January 30, 2008.

* June 3, 2011: Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.

Personal information

* Birth date: June 10, 1953

* Birth place: Seneca, South Carolina

* Birth name: Johnny Reid Edwards

* Parents: Wallace, a textile mill worker, and Catherine "Bobbie" Edwards

* Marriage: Elizabeth (Anania) Edwards (July 30, 1977 – December 7, 2010, her death)

* Children with Rielle Hunter: Frances Quinn Hunter, February 27, 2008

* Children with Elizabeth Edwards: Jack, 2000; Emma Claire, April 24, 1998; Cate, 1982; Wade, 1979 – 1996

* Education: North Carolina State University, B.S., 1974 (with honors)

* University of North Carolina, J.D, 1977 (with honors)

* Religion: Methodist

Other Facts:

* Edwards had no previous political experience before winning the 1998 Senate election.

* He was the first person in his family to attend college.

* When a US Senator, he introduced legislation on the following issues:


Health Care

Homeland Security

Privacy Protection


Senior Citizens

Strengthening Criminal Justice System and Courts


Economic growth

* As a presidential candidate in the 2008 election, Edwards repeatedly lied about an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a documentary filmmaker. He admits the affair to ABC News on August 8, 2008.


* 1981 - Joins the Wade Smith Law Firm in Raleigh, North Carolina.

* 1993 - Starts his own law firm with partner David Kirby, concentrating on personal injury law.

* 1996 - Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Lawyers Weekly.

* 1998 - Receives 51.2% of the vote in general election to Republican Lauch Faircloth's (incumbent) 47% to win seat in the U.S. Senate.

* January 3, 1999 - Is sworn in as senator.

* June 29, 2001 - Edwards, along with Sen. John McCain, acts as chief sponsor of the Bipartisan Patient Protection Act.

* January 2, 2003 - Announces the formation of an presidential campaign exploratory committee with the FEC.

* September 16, 2003 - Formally announces his candidacy for president, in the town where he grew up, Robbins, NC.

* October 14, 2003 - Announces that he will not vote for the $87 billion Iraq aid package.

* January 19, 2004 - Takes 2nd place in the Iowa caucuses with 32% of the vote.

* February 3, 2004 Wins the South Carolina Primary with 45% of the votes, 2nd in Oklahoma and Missouri.

* March 3, 2004 - Announces that he's dropping out of the race.

* July 6, 2004 - John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate, names Edwards as his vice presidential running mate.

* November 3, 2004 - Ends vice presidential candidacy when Sen. John Kerry calls President Bush to concede the White House race, one day after the election.

* January 3, 2005 - Leaves the Senate when his term expires.

* February, 2005 - Becomes the Director of the Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

* December 27, 2006 - John Edwards announces at an event in New Orleans that he is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

* March 22, 2007 – Announces that his wife Elizabeth's cancer has returned, but he is continuing with his presidential campaign.

* January 30, 2008 – Edwards announces that he's suspending his race for the Democratic nomination. He declines to endorse either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

* February 27, 2008 – Frances Quinn Hunter is born. No father is listed on the birth certificate.

* May 14, 2008 – Edwards endorses Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for president.

* August 8, 2008 – In an interview with Nightline, Edwards admits to an extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter, a woman hired to make documentary videos for his campaign. He denies he is the father of her young daughter, due to the timing of the affair, though he hasn't taken a paternity test.

* February 2009 – The Justice Department opens an investigation into Edwards's 2008 campaign finances.

* May 2009 – Elizabeth Edwards publishes a memoir, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities. She addresses the affair saying "I wanted him to drop out of the race, protect our family from this woman, from his act."

* August 6, 2009 – Rielle Hunter testifies in front of a grand jury investigating Edwards' campaign finances.

* January 21, 2010 – Admits he fathered a daughter, Quinn, with Rielle Hunter and has been providing financial support for her for the last year.

* January 27, 2010 – Separates from wife of more than 32 years.

* January 30, 2010 – The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down, by his former aide, Andrew A. Young, is published. Young claims campaign donation money from socialite Bunny Mellon was used to pay for Rielle Hunter's pregnancy expenses.

* December 2010 – A federal investigation into Edwards campaign finances includes grand jury appearances by Bunny Mellon's family. Mellon gave various checks totaling $700,000 to Edwards. The question is whether the money was a gift or should it have been declared campaign contributions. Her advanced age, 100, makes it unlikely Mellon herself will appear before the grand jury.

* December 7, 2010 – Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer.

* February 2011 – Bunny Mellon testifies on camera in the Edwards investigation. Her age makes it a possibility she would not be available in the event of a trial.

* February 8, 2011 – Edwards gives a deposition in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter against Andrew Young. Hunter is suing Young to reclaim materials that she says belong to her, including an alleged sex tape that involves Edwards.

* April 29, 2011 – A North Carolina judge rules that Edwards must testify more in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter against Andrew Young.

* June 3, 2011 – Edwards is indicted on six counts including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws. Edwards pleads not guilty. "There's no question I've done wrong ... but I did not break the law."

* July 21, 2011 – The Federal Election Commission rules that Edwards must pay back $2.3 million to the U.S. Treasury. The money exceeds the matching funds from his 2008 campaign.

* August 24, 2011 – Edwards asks the court to delay his trial, which is scheduled to begin in October.

* December 22, 2011 – Edwards' attorneys ask to delay his criminal trial, saying Edwards has an unspecified medical issue.

* January 14, 2012 – Due to a critical heart condition Edwards' trial is postponed.

* April 12, 2012 – Jury selection begins in Edwards' trial.

* April 23, 2012 – Testimony begins in the trial.

* May 10, 2012 – The prosecution's case ends. Rielle Hunter was not called as a witness.


Four Trials, with John Auchard, 2003

Real Solutions for America, a 60 page campaign booklet, 2003

Sources: Congressional Quarterly, Biography Resource Center, John Edwards home page (no longer active).

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