John Edwards Indicted In Affair Cover-up
Former presidential and vice-presidential candidate John Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday for allegedly using illegal campaign money to cover up a 2008 extramarital affair. Edwards reportedly used a combined total of over $900,000 from campaign supporters to keep the other woman from exposing the affair and the child Edwards fathered with her. A key question of the case is whether these contributions count as campaign donations because the money indirectly advanced his political aspirations.
Under federal law, individuals could not contribute more than $4,600 to a presidential candidate in the 2008 election and no more than $25,000 in total to candidates and party committees.
"Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy," the indictment says.
NPR's Frank James sums up Edwards' as of life filled with tragedies both unspeakable (in the case of his wife's battle with and death from cancer) and self-inflicted (in the case of his affair).
The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus question's the government's case against Edwards, implying that, by the letter of campaign finance law, the cover-up money may not be considered campaign donations.
On the other hand, Edwards' defense team will have to explain the "smoking gun" note mentioned in the indictment. Read more at MSNBC.
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