John Edwards to go on Trial Monday to Face Accusations Regarding Campaign Contributions
The former US Senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards will go on trial today on charges that illegal campaign contributions were used in an effort to cover up an affair he had with the mistress who became pregnant during his race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Accusations state that Edwards accepted more than $900,000 in campaign funds from two wealthy donors while knowing that news of his extramarital affair “would destroy his presidential campaign” prosecutors said. At the time of the incident Edwards was a married father of three children, whose wife was suffering from breast cancer.
Edwards has been accused of conspiring to solicit the money as well as receiving more than the allowed amount of $2300 from a single donor as well as failing to report the payments as contributions.
This results in Edwards facing six felony counts with each one carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine.
Edwards has admitted wrongdoing although is adamant about the fact that no laws were broken. Edwards’ lawyers claim that the government is overreacting with their prosecution of Edwards who is the son of mill workers and earned his fortune as a trial lawyer in North Carolina before getting elected as US Senator in 1998. His lawyers also argue the Justice Department’s interpretation of federal election laws and say that the donors would’ve still given money to the campaign anyways and gave money knowing full well that it would not be used for campaign purposes.
They claim that the money was not spent to influence the election but instead to hide the affair as well as the pregnancy from Edward’s wife and children.
In the end, Edwards didn’t ever receive any of the payments and neither did his campaign. The money was instead used to cover the cost of living and medical care for the mistress as well as campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.
Ron Wright, a Wake Forest University law professor with no direct involvement to the case said “this is expanding the scope of the definition of campaign contribution. It is an unprecedented definition.”