Two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will likely be indicted by the Justice Department on charges that he violated campaign finance laws as he tried to conceal an affair with videographer Rielle Hunter, though a plea agreement is possible. Edwards has been under federal investigation for more than two years, having entangled himself with Hunter while his wife Elizabeth Edwards was ailing with breast cancer. The affair produced a child, which Edwards’ aide Andrew Young first claimed as his own before the disgraced politician admitted he was the father in January 2010. The anticipated charges focus on payoffs reportedly made to Hunter by key Edwards campaign donors in a failed attempt to buy her silence. Again, the Law of Watergate applies: “It’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.” —KDG
Federal prosecutors have completed a wide-ranging investigation into John Edwards’ political dealings and could indict the two-time presidential candidate within days, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
Edwards could still strike a plea deal to avoid an indictment, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the case’s sensitivity.
Federal investigators have been probing Edwards for two more than years. Their interest has spanned much of Edwards’ political career, looking into issues such as whether he did anything improper during his time in the U.S. Senate. And it looked into a network of organizations connected to Edwards, including a nonprofit, political action committees and a so-called 527 political group.
Much of the investigation, however, focused on money that eventually went to keep mistress Rielle Hunter in hiding along with former campaign aide Andrew Young, who claimed paternity of Hunter’s child in 2007 so that Edwards could continue his White House campaign without the affair tarnishing his reputation.