John Edwards, a former U.S. senator and presidential candidate, was indicted by a Raleigh, North Carolina, grand jury Friday morning on six counts of campaign finance law violations, including conspiracy, false statements and four counts of accepting illegal campaign payments.
The indictment is the result of a two-year investigation into whether he received campaign contributions that exceeded federal limits and whether he improperly reported and used them to hide an extramarital affair that he was having with videographer Rielle Hunter during his 2008 presidential campaign. The two have a three-year-old daughter.
“Edwards is alleged to have accepted more than $900,000 in an effort to conceal from the public facts that he believed would harm his candidacy,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement. “As this indictment shows, we will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws.”
Edwards was offered an opportunity to accept a plea deal, but chose to fight the charges instead because he does not want to be viewed as a felon or risk losing his law license. He has already lost a lot due to the affair, which ended his marriage to the late Elizabeth Edwards, who at the time was dying from breast cancer, and ruined his political career and has likely permanently damaged his reputation.
(Photo: AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)