JOHNNY REID "JOHN" EDWARDS (born June 10, 1953) is a former American
politician who served as a U.S. Senator from
North Carolina . He was
the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004 , and was a
candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008
Edwards defeated incumbent Republican
Lauch Faircloth in North
Carolina's 1998 Senate election . Towards the end of his single
six-year term, he sought the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2004
presidential election . He eventually became the 2004 Democratic
candidate for vice president, the running mate of presidential nominee
John Kerry of
Following Kerry's loss to incumbent President
George W. Bush
George W. Bush ,
Edwards began working full-time at the
One America Committee , a
political action committee he established in 2001, and was appointed
director of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the
North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law . He was
also a consultant for
Fortress Investment Group
Fortress Investment Group LLC.
A federal grand jury in
North Carolina indicted Edwards in 2011 on
six felony charges of violating multiple federal campaign contribution
laws to cover up an extramarital affair which he admitted, following
his 2008 campaign. Edwards was found not guilty on one count, and the
judge declared a mistrial on the remaining five charges, as the jury
was unable to come to an agreement. The Justice Department dropped
the remaining charges and did not attempt to retry Edwards.
* 1 Early life and education
* 2 Legal career
* 3 Political career
* 3.1 Policy positions
* 3.2 Senate tenure
* 3.3 Post-Senate activities
* 4 Political campaigns
* 4.1 Electoral history
* 4.2 2004 presidential campaign
* 4.3 2004 vice presidential nomination
* 4.4 2008 presidential campaign
* 5 Personal life
* 5.1 Family
* 5.2 Residence
* 5.3 Extramarital affair
* 5.4 Indictment and trial
* 6 Return to law practice
* 7 Bibliography
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 External links
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Edwards was born June 10, 1953, to Wallace Reid Edwards and Catharine
Juanita "Bobbie" Edwards (née Wade) in
Seneca, South Carolina . The
family moved several times during Edwards' childhood, eventually
settling in Robbins,
North Carolina , where his father worked as a
textile mill floor worker, eventually promoted to supervisor; his
mother had a roadside antique-finishing business and then worked as a
postal letter carrier when his father left his job.
A football star in high school, Edwards was the first person in his
family to attend college. He attended
Clemson University and
North Carolina State University . Edwards graduated
with high honors earning a bachelor\'s degree in textile technology in
1974, and later earned his
Juris Doctor from the University of North
Carolina School of Law (UNC) with honors.
After law school, Edwards clerked for federal judge Franklin Dupree
in North Carolina, and in 1978 became an associate at the Nashville
law firm of Dearborn & Ewing, doing primarily trial work, defending a
Nashville bank and other corporate clients.
Lamar Alexander , a
Republican and future governor of and U.S. Senator from Tennessee, was
among Edwards's co-workers. The Edwards family returned to North
Carolina in 1981, settling in the capital of Raleigh where he joined
the firm of Tharrington, Smith the firm had accepted it only as a
favor to an attorney and state senator who did not want to keep it.
Nevertheless, Edwards won a $3.7 million verdict on behalf of his
client, who had suffered permanent brain and nerve damage after a
doctor prescribed an overdose of the anti-alcoholism drug Antabuse
during alcohol aversion therapy. In other cases, Edwards sued the
American Red Cross
American Red Cross three times, alleging transmission of AIDS through
tainted blood products, resulting in a confidential settlement each
time, and defended a
North Carolina newspaper against a libel charge.
In 1985, Edwards represented a five-year-old child born with cerebral
palsy – a child whose mother's doctor did not choose to perform an
immediate Caesarean delivery when a fetal monitor showed she was in
distress. Edwards won a $6.5 million verdict for his client, but five
weeks later, the presiding judge sustained the verdict, but overturned
the award on grounds that it was "excessive" and that it appeared "to
have been given under the influence of passion and prejudice," adding
that in his opinion "the evidence was insufficient to support the
verdict." He offered the plaintiffs $3.25 million, half of the jury's
award, but the child's family appealed the case and received $4.25
million in a settlement. Winning this case established the North
Carolina precedent of physician and hospital liability for failing to
determine if the patient understood the risks of a particular
After this trial, Edwards gained national attention as a plaintiff's
lawyer. He filed at least twenty similar lawsuits in the years
following and achieved verdicts and settlements of more than $60
million for his clients. Similar lawsuits followed across the country.
When asked about an increase in Caesarean deliveries nationwide,
perhaps to avoid similar medical malpractice lawsuits, Edwards said,
"The question is, would you rather have cases where that happens
instead of having cases where you don't intervene and a child either
becomes disabled for life or dies in utero?"
In 1993, Edwards began his own firm in Raleigh (now named Kirby
white-space:nowrap;">. Mark Dayton, editor of
North Carolina Lawyers
Weekly, would later call it "the most impressive legal performance I
have ever seen." The jury awarded the family $25 million, the largest
personal injury award in
North Carolina history. The company settled
for the $25 million while the jury was deliberating additional
punitive damages , rather than risk losing an appeal. For their part
in this case, Edwards and law partner David Kirby earned the
Association of Trial Lawyers of America 's national award for public
service. The family said that they hired Edwards over other attorneys
because he alone had offered to accept a smaller percentage as his fee
unless the award was unexpectedly high, while all of the other lawyers
they spoke with said they required the full one-third fee. The size of
the jury award was unprecedented, and Edwards did receive the standard
one-third-plus-expenses fee typical of contingency cases. The family
was so impressed with his intelligence and commitment that they
volunteered for his Senate campaign the next year.
After Edwards won a large verdict against a trucking company whose
worker had been involved in a fatal accident, the North Carolina
legislature passed a law prohibiting such awards unless the company
had specifically sanctioned the employee's actions.
In December 2003, during his first presidential campaign, Edwards
John Auchard ) published
Four Trials , an autobiographical book
focusing on cases from his legal career. According to this book, the
success of the Sta-Rite case and his son's death (Edwards had hoped
his son would eventually join him in private law practice) prompted
Edwards to leave the legal profession and seek public office.
Edwards, his daughter Cate, and David Kirby started a new law firm,
called "Edwards Kirby," in 2013, with offices in Raleigh and in
Political positions of John Edwards
Edwards promotes programs to eliminate poverty in the United States,
including arguing in favor of creating one million housing vouchers
over five years in order to place poor people in middle-class
neighborhoods. Edwards has stated, "If we truly believe that we are
all equal, then we should live together too." He also supports
"College for Everyone" initiatives.
Although Edwards initially supported the Iraq War, he later changed
his position and in November 2005 wrote an op-ed in The Washington
Post in which he said he expressed regret for voting for the Iraq War
Resolution and discussed three solutions for success in the conflict.
He denounced the "troop surge " in Iraq, was a proponent for
withdrawal, and urged Congress to withhold funding for the war without
a withdrawal timetable.
On social policy, Edwards supports abortion rights and has a
universal healthcare plan that requires all Americans to purchase
healthcare insurance, "requires that everybody get preventive care,"
and requires employers to provide health care insurance or be taxed to
fund public health care. He supports a pathway to citizenship for
illegal immigrants , is opposed to a constitutional amendment banning
same-sex marriage ; and supports the repeal of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA).
He has endorsed efforts to slow down global warming and was the
first presidential candidate to make his campaign carbon-neutral .
Senator Edwards on
Meet the Press
Meet the Press
Edwards won election to the U.S. Senate in 1998 as a Democrat running
against incumbent Republican Senator
Lauch Faircloth . Despite
originally being the underdog, Edwards beat Faircloth by 51.2% to
47.0% — a margin of some 83,000 votes.
Bill Clinton 's 1999 impeachment trial in the Senate
, Edwards was responsible for the deposition of witnesses Monica
Lewinsky and fellow Democrat
Vernon Jordan, Jr. During the 2000
presidential campaign, Edwards was on Democratic nominee
Al Gore 's
vice presidential nominee short list (along with
John Kerry and Joe
Lieberman , Gore's eventual pick).
In his time in the Senate, Edwards co-sponsored 203 bills. Among
them was Lieberman's 2002
Iraq War Resolution (S.J.Res.46), which he
co-sponsored along with 15 other senators, but which did not go to a
vote. He voted for replacement resolution (H.J Res. 114) in the full
Senate to authorize the use of military force against Iraq, which
passed by a vote of 77 to 23, On October 10, 2002, he stated that:
Almost no one disagrees with these basic facts: that Saddam Hussein
is a tyrant and a menace; that he has weapons of mass destruction and
that he is doing everything in his power to get nuclear weapons; that
he has supported terrorists; that he is a grave threat to the region,
to vital allies like
Israel , and to the United States; and that he is
thwarting the will of the international community and undermining the
United Nations' credibility.
He defended his vote on an October 10, 2004, appearance on Meet the
Press , saying "I would have voted for the resolution knowing what I
know today, because it was the right thing to do to give the president
the authority to confront
Saddam Hussein ...I think
Saddam Hussein was
a very serious threat. I stand by that, and that's why stand behind
our vote on the resolution". However, he subsequently changed his
mind about the war and apologized for that military authorization
vote. Edwards also voted in favor of the
Patriot Act .
Among other positions, Edwards was generally pro-choice and supported
affirmative action and the death penalty . One of his first sponsored
bills was the Fragile X Research Breakthrough Act of 1999. He was
also the first person to introduce comprehensive anti-spyware
legislation with the Spyware Control and Privacy Protection Act. He
advocated rolling back the Bush administration 's tax cuts and ending
mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent offenders. Edwards
generally supported expanding legal immigration to the United States
while working with
Mexico to provide better border security and stop
Edwards served on the
U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ,
U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary , and was a member of the New
Democrat Coalition .
Before the 2004 Senate election , Edwards announced his retirement
from the Senate and supported
Erskine Bowles , former White House
Chief of Staff , as the successor to his seat; Bowles, however, was
defeated by Republican
Richard Burr in the election.
The day after his concession speech, he announced his wife Elizabeth
had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Edwards told interviewer Larry
King that he doubted he would return to practice as a trial lawyer and
showed no interest in succeeding
Terry McAuliffe as the Democratic
National Committee chairman.
In February 2005, Edwards headlined the "100 Club" Dinner, a major
fundraiser for the
New Hampshire Democratic Party. That same month,
Edwards was appointed as director of the Center on Poverty, Work and
Opportunity at the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill for
studying ways to move people out of poverty. That fall, Edwards toured
ten major universities in order to promote "Opportunity Rocks!", a
program aimed at getting youth involved to fight poverty.
On March 21, 2005, Edwards recorded his first podcast with his wife
. Several months later, in August, Edwards delivered an address to a
potential key supporter in the
Iowa caucus, the
AFL-CIO in Waterloo,
In the following month, Edwards sent an email to his supporters and
announced that he opposed the nomination of Judge
John G. Roberts to
become Chief Justice of the
United States . He was also opposed to the
nomination of Justice
Samuel Alito as an Associate Justice and Judge
Charles Pickering's appointment to the Federal bench.
During the summer and fall of 2005, he visited homeless shelters and
job training centers and spoke at events organized by ACORN , the
NAACP and the SEIU . He spoke in favor of an expansion of the earned
income tax credit ; in favor of a crackdown on predatory lending ; an
increase in the capital gains tax rate; housing vouchers for racial
minorities (to integrate upper-income neighborhoods); and a program
modeled on the
Works Progress Administration
Works Progress Administration to rehabilitate the Gulf
Hurricane Katrina . In Greene County,
North Carolina ,
he unveiled the pilot program for College for Everyone, an educational
measure he promised during his presidential campaign, in which
prospective college students would receive a scholarship for their
first year in exchange for ten hours of work a week. The College for
Everyone program was canceled in July 2008.
Edwards was co-chair of a
Council on Foreign Relations task force on
United States-Russia relations alongside Republican
Jack Kemp , a
former congressman, Cabinet official and vice presidential nominee.
The task force issued its report in March 2006. On July 12, the
International Herald Tribune published a related op-ed by Edwards and
In October 2005, Edwards joined the
Wall Street investment firm
Fortress Investment Group
Fortress Investment Group as a senior adviser and consultant, a
position for which a close aide reported he received an annual salary
of $500,000. Fortress owned a major stake in Green Tree Servicing
LLC, which rose to prominence in the 1990s selling subprime loans to
mobile-home owners and now services subprime loans originated by
others, but in an interview Edwards said he was unaware of this.
Subprime loans allow buyers with poor credit histories to be funded,
but they charge higher rates because of the risk, and sometimes carry
hidden fees and increased charges over time. In August 2007, The Wall
Street Journal reported that a portion of the Edwards family's assets
were invested in Fortress Investment Group, which had, in turn,
invested a portion of its assets in subprime mortgage lenders, some of
which had foreclosed on the homes of
Hurricane Katrina victims. Upon
learning of Fortress' investments, Edwards divested funds and stated
that he would try to help the affected families. Edwards later helped
set up an ACORN-administered "Louisiana Home Rescue Fund" seeded with
$100,000, much of it from his pocket, to provide loans and grants to
the families who were foreclosed on by Fortress-owned lenders.
Edwards is now a personal injury lawyer in Pitt County, North
NORTH CAROLINA UNITED STATES SENATE ELECTION, 1998 (DEMOCRATIC
John Edwards – 277,468 (51.39%)
D.G. Martin – 149,049 (27.59%)
* Ella Butler Scarborough – 55,486 (10.28%)
NORTH CAROLINA UNITED STATES SENATE ELECTION, 1998
John Edwards (D) – 1,029,237 (51.15%)
Lauch Faircloth (R) (inc.) – 945,943 (47.01%)
Barbara Howe (Lib.) – 36,963 (1.84%)
2004 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES
John Kerry – 9,930,497 (60.98%)
John Edwards – 3,162,337 (19.42%)
Howard Dean – 903,460 (5.55%)
Dennis Kucinich – 620,242 (3.81%)
Wesley Clark – 547,369 (3.36%)
Al Sharpton – 380,865 (2.34%)
Joe Lieberman – 280,940 (1.73%)
UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, 2004
George W. Bush
George W. Bush /
Dick Cheney (R) (inc.) – 62,040,610 (50.7%) and
286 electoral votes (31 states carried)
John Kerry /
John Edwards (D) – 59,028,111 (48.3%) and 251
electoral votes (19 states and D.C. carried)
* John Ewards (D) – 1 electoral vote (faithless elector )
2008 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARIES
Barack Obama – 17,869,542 (48.2%)
Hillary Clinton – 17,717,698 (47.8%)
John Edwards – 1,006,289 (2.65%)
2004 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
United States presidential election, 2004 and John
Edwards presidential campaign, 2004
In 2000, Edwards unofficially began his presidential campaign when he
began to seek speaking engagements in
Iowa , the site of the nation's
first party caucuses . On January 2, 2003, Edwards began fundraising
without officially campaigning by forming an exploratory committee. On
September 15, 2003, Edwards fulfilled a promise he made a year earlier
as a guest on
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to unofficially announce
his intention to seek the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination .
The next morning, Edwards made the announcement officially from his
hometown. He declined to run for reelection to the Senate in order to
focus on his presidential run. Edwards' campaign was chaired by North
Carolina Democratic activist
Ed Turlington .
As Edwards had been building support essentially since his election
to the Senate, he led the initial campaign fundraising, amassing over
$7 million during the first quarter of 2003 – more than half of
which came from individuals associated with the legal profession,
particularly Edwards' fellow trial lawyers, their families, and
Edwards' stump speech spoke of "
Two Americas ", with one composed of
the wealthy and privileged, and the other of the hard-working common
man, causing the media to often characterize Edwards as a populist .
Edwards struggled to gain substantial support, but his poll numbers
began to rise steadily weeks before the
Iowa caucuses. Edwards had a
surprising second-place finish with the support of 32% of delegates,
John Kerry 's 39% and ahead of former front-runner Howard
Dean at 18%. One week later in the
New Hampshire primary , Edwards
finished in fourth place behind Kerry, Dean and
Wesley Clark , with
12%. During the February 3 primaries, Edwards won the South Carolina
primary, lost to Clark in
Oklahoma , and lost to Kerry in the other
states. Edwards garnered the second largest number of second-place
finishes, again falling behind Clark. Edwards on the campaign
trail in 2004
Dean withdrew from the contest, leaving Edwards the only major
challenger to Kerry. In the
Wisconsin primary on February 17, Edwards
finished second to Kerry with 34% of the vote.
Edwards largely avoided attacking Kerry until a February 29, 2004,
debate in New York, where he characterized him as a "Washington
insider" and mocked Kerry's plan to form a committee to examine trade
Super Tuesday primaries on March 2, Kerry finished well ahead
in nine of the ten states voting, and Edwards' campaign ended. In
Georgia , Edwards finished only slightly behind Kerry but, failing to
win a single state, chose to withdraw from the race. He announced his
official withdrawal at a Raleigh,
North Carolina press conference on
March 3. Edwards' withdrawal made major media outlets relatively early
on the evening of Super Tuesday, at about 6:30 pm CST, before polls
had closed in California and before caucuses in
Minnesota had even
begun. It is thought that the withdrawal influenced many people in
Minnesota to vote for other candidates, which may partially account
for the strong
Minnesota finish of
Dennis Kucinich . Edwards did win
the presidential straw poll conducted by the Independence Party of
After withdrawing from the race, he went on to win the April 17
Democratic caucuses in his home state of North Carolina, making him
the only Democratic candidate besides Kerry to win nominating contests
in two states in 2004.
2004 VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION
John Kerry presidential campaign, 2004
On July 6, 2004, Kerry announced that Edwards would be his running
mate; the decision was widely hailed in public opinion polls and by
Democratic leaders. Though many Democrats supported Edwards'
nomination, others criticized the selection for Edwards' perceived
lack of experience. In the vice presidential debate,
Dick Cheney told
Edwards they had never met because of Edwards' frequent absences from
the Senate, but that was later proven to be incorrect. Videotape later
surfaced of Cheney and Edwards shaking hands off-camera during a
Meet the Press
Meet the Press on April 8, 2001. On February 1, 2001,
Cheney thanked Edwards by name and sat with him during a Senate prayer
breakfast. However, George W. Bush's campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt
described the event as an "inconsequential meeting". On January 8,
2003, they met when
John Edwards accompanied then-Senator Elizabeth
Dole to a mock swearing-in.
Kerry's campaign advisor
Bob Shrum later reported in Time magazine
that Kerry said he wished he had never picked Edwards, and the two
have since stopped speaking to each other. Edwards said in his
concession speech, "You can be disappointed, but you cannot walk away.
This fight has just begun."
2008 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
John Edwards presidential campaign, 2008 John
Edwards campaigning in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Labor Day in 2007
On December 28, 2006,
John Edwards officially announced his candidacy
for President in the 2008 election from the yard of a home in New
Orleans, Louisiana , that was being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina
destroyed it. Edwards stated that his main goals were eliminating
poverty, fighting global warming , providing universal health care ,
and withdrawing troops from Iraq.
National polls had Edwards placing third among the Democratic field
beginning in January 2007, behind Senator
Hillary Clinton and Senator
Barack Obama . By July 2007, the Edwards campaign had raised $23
million from nearly 100,000 donors, placing him behind Obama and
Clinton in fundraising.
Edwards was first to boycott a
Fox News -sponsored presidential
debate in March 2007. Hillary Clinton,
Bill Richardson , and Barack
Obama followed suit.
John Edwards with
Bonnie Raitt , Jackson
Browne , and
Peter Coyote at a campaign event in Manchester, New
On January 3, 2008, in the
Iowa caucuses , the first contest of the
nomination process, Edwards placed second with 29.75% of the vote to
Obama (37.58%), with Clinton coming in third with 29.47% of the vote.
On January 8, Edwards placed a distant third in the New Hampshire
Democratic primary with just under 17% (48,818 votes). On January 26,
Edwards again placed third in the primary in
South Carolina – his
birth state – which he had carried in 2004, and he placed third in
the non-binding January 29 vote in Florida. At the Musicians\'
Village in New Orleans, Edwards announced suspending his campaign.
On January 30, 2008, following his primary and caucus losses, Edwards
announced that he was suspending his campaign for the Presidency.
He did not initially endorse either Clinton or Obama, saying they both
had pledged to carry forward his central campaign theme of ending
poverty in America. In April 2008, he stated that he would not accept
the 2008 vice presidential slot if asked. On May 14, 2008, Edwards
officially endorsed Senator Obama at a rally in Grand Rapids,
On June 15, 2008, Edwards stepped back from his initial outright
denial of interest in the position of the Vice President, saying, "I'd
take anything he asks me to think about seriously, but obviously this
is something that I've done and it's not a job I'm seeking." On June
The Associated Press reported that according to a member of
the Congressional Black Caucus, the names of Edwards and
Sam Nunn were
on Obama's vice presidential shortlist. Ultimately, then-Senator Joe
Biden of Delaware was tapped to become Obama's running mate.
While at UNC, he met Elizabeth Anania . They married in 1977 and had
four children (Wade in 1979, Cate in 1982, Emma Claire in 1998, and
Jack in 2000). Edwards also has a child out of wedlock, born in 2008,
named Frances Quinn Hunter, conceived with his former mistress Rielle
Hunter . Edwards denied being the father for over two years before
finally admitting to it in 2010.
Wade was killed in a car accident when strong winds swept his Jeep
North Carolina highway in 1996. Three weeks before his death,
Wade was honored by First Lady
Hillary Clinton at
The White House as
one of the 10 finalists in an essay contest sponsored by the National
Endowment for the Humanities and the
Voice of America for an essay he
wrote on entering the voting booth with his father. Wade, accompanied
by his parents and sister, went on to meet
North Carolina Sen. Jesse
Helms , who later entered Wade's essay and his obituary into the
Congressional Record . Edwards and his wife began the Wade Edwards
Foundation in their son's memory; the purpose of the non-profit
organization is "to reward, encourage, and inspire young people in the
pursuit of excellence." The Foundation funded the Wade Edwards
Learning Lab at Wade's high school, Needham B. Broughton High School
in Raleigh , along with scholarship competitions and essay awards.
On November 3, 2004,
Elizabeth Edwards revealed that she had been
diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated via chemotherapy and
radiotherapy , and continued to work within the Democratic Party and
One America Committee . On March 22, 2007, during his
campaign for the 2008 Democratic nomination for the presidency,
Edwards and his wife announced that her cancer had returned; she was
diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer, with newly discovered
metastases to the bone and possibly to her lung. They said that the
cancer was "no longer curable, but is completely treatable" and that
they planned to continue campaigning together with an occasional break
when she requires treatment. In June 2010, Elizabeth published a
book called Resilience. Her book is about the struggles of her
marriage and how she was affected by her husband's affair. In the
book, Elizabeth talks about how long she was in the dark about the
affair and how many times her husband, John, lied about the details of
the affair. She never addresses John's mistress by name but calls her
a "parasitic groupie" and claims that she is pathetic. Elizabeth also
opens up about how she tried to forgive her husband after she first
learned of the affair but struggled to find forgiveness when he
continued to lie. After Edwards' January 21, 2010, admission that he
fathered a child with his mistress , Elizabeth legally separated from
him and intended to file for divorce after a mandatory one-year
On December 7, 2010, Elizabeth died of metastatic breast cancer at
In Washington. D.C. he lived in
Embassy Row , 2215 30th Street.
His next-door neighbor was the media owner
David G. Bradley .
In 2004, he sold his house to the Hungarian Embassy to the United
John Edwards extramarital affair
In October 2007,
The National Enquirer began a series of reports
alleging an adulterous affair between Edwards and former campaign
Rielle Hunter . By July 2008, several news media outlets
speculated that Edwards' chances for the Vice Presidency as well as
other positions such as the Attorney General were harmed by the
allegations, which now included that he fathered a child with Hunter
and had visited her and the baby girl at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in
Beverly Hills, California
Beverly Hills, California . However, the story was not widely covered
by the press for some time, until, after initially denying the
allegations, Edwards admitted the affair. On January 21, 2010,
John Edwards issued a press release to admit that he fathered Hunter's
In an August 8, 2008, statement, and an interview with Bob Woodruff
ABC News , Edwards admitted the affair with Hunter in 2006, but
denied being the father of her child. He acknowledged that he had been
dishonest in denying the entire Enquirer story, admitting that some of
it was true, but said that the affair ended long before the time of
the child's conception. He further said he was willing to take a
paternity test, but Hunter responded that she would not be party to a
DNA test "now or in the future". Initially, campaign aide Andrew
Young claimed that he, not Edwards, was the child's father. Young has
since renounced that statement, and told publishers in a book proposal
that Edwards always knew he was the child's father; Young alleged that
Edwards pleaded with him to falsely accept responsibility.
In the proposal, which
The New York Times
The New York Times examined, Young claims to
have set up private meetings between Edwards and Hunter. He wrote that
Edwards once calmed an anxious Hunter by promising her that after his
wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with
an appearance by the
Dave Matthews Band
Dave Matthews Band .
ABC News reports that Young
stated that Edwards asked him to "Get a doctor to fake the DNA
results...and to steal a diaper from the baby so he could secretly do
DNA test to find out if this indeed his child." On February 2,
2010, Young released a book detailing the affair. Young also began
Aaron Sorkin on a movie about the affair based on the
book The Politician. On February 23, 2012, an Orange County, NC, judge
ruled that Young and his wife could not publicize the movie. The judge
also ruled that an alleged "sex tape" of Edwards and Hunter be
destroyed by the court. The judge also allowed only the materials
already in the public domain to be used for public purposes. All other
photos and materials not yet released, can be used for family purposes
In response to the scandal involving Edwards' extramarital affair and
attempts to cover it up, he has stated "I am a sinner, but not a
In May 2009, newspapers reported that Edwards' campaign was being
investigated for conversion of campaign money to personal use related
to the affair. Edwards said that the campaign was complying with the
inquiry. The relevant US attorney refused to comment. In the same
George Stephanopoulos of
ABC News reported that members of
Edwards' staff had told him that they had planned a "doomsday
strategy" to derail Edwards' campaign if he got close to the
Joe Trippi , a senior advisor to the campaign, said the
report was "complete bullshit". In August 2009, Rielle Hunter
appeared before the grand jury investigating this matter. On March
15, 2010, Hunter broke her silence during an interview with GQ
magazine and provided new details about the affair. In March 2011,
voicemail messages allegedly left by
John Edwards were obtained, which
Young says prove that Edwards arranged the cover up of his affair with
Reports surfaced in late 2011 in
The National Enquirer and
RadarOnline.com that Edwards asked his former mistress to move into
North Carolina home, where he had once lived with his wife.
Rielle Hunter announced her breakup with Edwards on the same day she
released a book about their relationship in 2012.
INDICTMENT AND TRIAL
On May 24, 2011,
ABC News and the New York Times reported that the
U.S Department of Justice 's
Public Integrity Section had conducted a
two-year investigation into whether Edwards had used more than $1
million in political donations to hide his affair and planned to
pursue criminal charges for alleged violations of campaign finance
On June 3, 2011, Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury in
North Carolina on six felony charges, including four counts of
collecting illegal campaign contributions, one count of conspiracy,
and one count of making false statements.
After postponing the start of the trial while Edwards was treated for
a heart condition in February 2012, Judge
Catherine Eagles of the U.S.
District Court for the Middle District of
North Carolina scheduled
jury selection to begin on April 12, 2012. Edwards's trial began on
April 23, 2012, as he faced up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5
In a related development, on March 13, 2012, the Federal Election
Commission ruled that Edwards' campaign must repay $2.1 million in
matching federal funds. Edwards' lawyers claimed the money was used,
and that the campaign did not receive all the funds to which it was
entitled, but the commission rejected the arguments.
Twelve jurors and four alternates were seated, and opening arguments
began April 23, 2012. Closing arguments took place May 17, and the
case went to the jury the next day.
On May 31, 2012, Edwards was found not guilty on Count 3, illegal use
of campaign funding (contributions from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon ), while
mistrials were declared on all other counts against him. On June 13,
2012, the Justice Department announced that it dropped the charges and
will not attempt to retry Edwards.
RETURN TO LAW PRACTICE
Edwards has returned to law after his political career ended.
Together with attorneys David Kirby and William Bystrynski, he founded
the law firm Edwards Kirby in Raleigh. His daughter Cate is the
managing attorney of the San Diego office of the firm. Vidant Health
and Pitt County,
North Carolina , was the venue for Edward's 2014
return to the malpractice arena.
Four Trials (with
John Auchard ) (New York: Simon and Schuster,
2003) ISBN 0-7432-4497-4
* Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives (New York: Collins, 2006) ISBN
* Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream,
co-editor (New Press, 2007) ISBN 1-59558-176-6
North Carolina portal
* Biography portal
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* List of federal political sex scandals in the
United States presidential election, 2008
* Official and Potential 2008
United States presidential election
* Opinion polling for the Democratic Party (United States)
presidential primaries, 2008
Democratic presidential debates, 2008
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