Saturday, June 4, 2011

john edwards

WASHINGTON | Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has insisted that he broke no laws when he hid his pregnant mistress while seeking the nomination in 2008.
Now he has made that stand official, pleading not guilty to charges that he accepted $925,000 in illegal contributions from two supporters to fund the deception.

On Friday a grand jury indicted Edwards, 57, on six counts of violating campaign finance laws, lying to the government and conspiring to protect his candidacy by breaking the law.
The case against Edward could rise or fall on whether the federal government is reaching too far and trying to hold Edwards to a higher election law standard than usual. Notably, the first paragraph of the 19-page indictment said that a “centerpiece” of Edwards’ candidacy in 2008 was “his public image as a devoted family man” and that he often stressed to voters that “family comes first.”

The government maintains that by accepting money to keep his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and eventually their baby, Frances Quinn Hunter, out of sight, he was trying to maintain the viability of his candidacy. Therefore, said the government, the money constituted undeclared campaign contributions.

The indictment lists the travel and accommodations expenses incurred "to escape the attention of the media in order to avoid damage to Edwards' campaign," including $29,259.85 for a chartered flight from Fort Lauderdale to Aspen on Christmas Eve, followed by another private flight three days later from Aspen to San Diego for $14,787.85. Among the hotel costs: $10,111.28 at the Loews Coronado in San Diego and $25,283.50 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Santa Barbara. The rental payments for a Santa Barbara house were listed as $58,667.00.

Fred Baron, or "Person D," also made an electronic transfer to an Edwards aide of $10,000, according to the indictment, that was part of the coverup conspiracy.
Asked on an ABC television interview in 2008 whether Baron had made payments, Edwards said, "I know absolutely nothing about this. I had nothing to do with any money being paid, and had no knowledge of any money being paid, and it wasn't being, if something was being paid, it wasn't being paid on my behalf. ... I don't know that he did or why he did it. And what his reasons for, were, for doing it."

And for that concealment and deception, count six of the indictment finds that the former U.S. senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee "knowingly and willfully falsified, concealed, and covered up by trick, scheme and device" the funds which federal lawyers say amount to illegal contributions - from the Federal Election Commission.

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