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 Massachusetts.
Following Kerry's loss to incumbent President 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 University of 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 to 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. Though it did not result in a criminal
conviction, the revelation that Edwards had an extramarital affair and
fathered a child, while his wife Elizabeth was dying of cancer,
gravely damaged his public image and ended his career in politics.
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
5.3 Extramarital affair
5.4 Indictment and trial
6 Return to law practice
8 See also
10 External links
Early life and education
Edwards and his parents stand in front of his childhood home
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 & Hargrove.
In 1984, Edwards was assigned to a medical malpractice lawsuit that
had been perceived to be unwinnable; 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
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
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 &
Holt) with a friend, David Kirby. He became known as the top
plaintiffs' attorney in North Carolina. The biggest case of his
legal career was a 1996 product liability lawsuit against Sta-Rite,
the manufacturer of a defective pool drain cover. The case involved
Valerie Lakey, a three-year-old girl who was disemboweled by the
suction power of the pool drain pump when she sat on an open pool
drain whose protective cover had been removed by other children at the
pool, after the swim club had failed to install the cover properly.
Despite 12 prior suits with similar claims, Sta-Rite continued to make
and sell drain covers lacking warnings. Sta-Rite protested that an
additional warning would have made no difference because the pool
owners already knew the importance of keeping the cover secured.
In his closing arguments, Edwards spoke to the jury for an hour and a
half and made reference to his son, Wade, who had been killed shortly
before testimony began[clarification needed]. 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
(with 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.[citation
Edwards, his daughter Cate, and David Kirby started a new law firm,
called "Edwards Kirby," in 2013, with offices in Raleigh and in
Main article: 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).
Edwards endorsed efforts to slow down global warming and was the
first presidential candidate to describe his campaign as
Senator Edwards on 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.
During President 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.
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
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 [
John Kerry and
I] 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
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 illegal trafficking.
Edwards served on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,
the U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary, and was a member of the New
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
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
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
Works Progress Administration
Works Progress Administration to rehabilitate the Gulf Coast
following 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
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 Kemp.
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
United States Senate
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%)
United States Senate
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/
Dick Cheney (R) (inc.) – 62,040,610 (50.7%) and 286
electoral votes (31 states carried)
John Edwards (D) – 59,028,111 (48.3%) and 251 electoral
votes (19 states and D.C. carried)
John Ewards [sic] (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
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
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
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,
behind only 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
even begun. It is thought that the withdrawal influenced many people
Minnesota to vote for other candidates, which may partially account
for the strong
Minnesota finish of Dennis Kucinich.[original
research?] Edwards did win the presidential straw poll conducted by
the Independence Party of Minnesota.
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
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
John Edwards with Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and
Peter Coyote at a
campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire
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.
Musicians' Village in New Orleans, Edwards announced suspending
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, Michigan.
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 20, 2008,
The Associated Press
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,
Joe Biden of Delaware was tapped to become Obama's
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 off
North Carolina highway in 1996. Three weeks before his death, Wade
was honored by First Lady
Hillary Clinton at
The White House
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
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
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 her husband's 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 waiting period.
On December 7, 2010, Elizabeth died of metastatic breast cancer at age
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
The National Enquirer began a series of reports
alleging an adulterous affair between Edwards and former campaign
worker 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. 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 child.
In an August 8, 2008, statement, and an interview with Bob
Woodruff of 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
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
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.
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 [was] indeed his child." On
February 2, 2010, Young released a book detailing the affair. Young
also began working with
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
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
nomination. 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 Hunter.
Reports surfaced in late 2011 in
The National Enquirer
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.
On February 9, 2016, Hunter spoke on Steve Harvey in her first
televised interview in almost five years, Hunter, 51, said that the
couple were actually still together up until February 2015.
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
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 would 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)
Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives (New York: Collins, 2006)
Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream,
co-editor (New Press, 2007) ISBN 1-59558-176-6
North Carolina portal
List of federal political sex scandals in the United States
United States presidential election, 2008
Official and Potential 2008 United States presidential election
Opinion polling for the
Democratic Party (United States)
Democratic Party (United States) presidential
Democratic presidential debates, 2008
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Served alongside: Jesse Helms, Elizabeth Dole
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