Former Pretty Boy Presidential Candidate John Edwards Indicted for Campaign Fraud [UPDATED]
A six-count indictment was filed against 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards by a federal grand jury Friday morning and it ain't pretty. United States of America v. Johnny Reid Edwards begins by alleging that while campaigning for president from 2007-8:
"A centerpiece of Edwards' candidacy was his public image as a devoted family man. The communication strategy developed by Edwards' campaign stressed the importance of publicizing, among other things, 'that family comes first.'"
No argument there. Unfortunately, Edwards' family man persona disintegrated when he was outed in July 2008 for having an extra-marital affair at the Beverly Hilton with videographer Rielle Hunter. With whom he later admitted to fathering a child.Hunter is Person B in the indictment (see below). The charges that could lead to a five-year prison sentence for Edwards are related to excessive campaign funding accepted by the Edwards campaign's Finance Chair (Person D) from Person C, a political supporter of Edwards since 2004.
The indictment lists seven checks totaling $725,000 made out by a friend of Person C and forwarded to Person A, Edwards' long-time personal assistant, whose spouse endorsed the checks.
Additional illegal contributions of nearly $200,000 covered chartered airfare for Edwards, his family, and Hunter as well as rental payments on a house in Santa Barbara ($58,667), over $25,000 to the Four Seasons in Santa Barbara andn $10,000 to the Loews Coronado Bay Hotel in San Diego.
Until his epic fall from grace, Edwards, who was the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee on the John Kerry ticket, was thought to have great potential in politics. But today, needless to say, many citizens and supporters who donated to and campaigned for Edwards are pissed.
An arrest warrant was issued charging the former senator for conspiracy and false statements in association with illegal campaign contributions and he's expected in U.S. District Court in North Carolina Friday afternoon.
UPDATE: Edwards pleaded not guilty to the charges, taking responsibility for having "done wrong," but denying breaking any federal law, according to the L.A. Times.
"I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I have done," the former Democratic presidential candidate said, "but I did not break the law and I never, ever thought I was breaking the law."