NY Times on Lawyers' Involvement in John Edwards' Mess
The New York Times reported Thursday that Fred Baron, the Texas lawyer who served as Finance Chair for John Edwards' campaign, not only may have paid money to Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young from his personal funds, but that he might have recommended their lawyers to them.
But what went unnoticed was that the two lawyers shared an important connection to Mr. Edwards that suggests they were part of an orchestrated effort to protect him, one that is continuing even after he admitted last week that he had an affair with Ms. Hunter but denied that he fathered her child. The lawyers are linked through Fred Baron, a wealthy Dallas lawyer and former finance chairman for the Edwards campaign who was a key player in the campaign’s response to the scandal. Mr. Gordon has worked with Mr. Baron on class-action personal injury cases,...
Unnoticed? The Times does not report that blogs such as Deceiver and Riehl World View have been reporting this for days. [Added: Deceiver says it's the McGovern angle it out-scooped the Times on, not this one.)
Yesterday, I brought out another reason to suspect Baron and lawyers for Young, Hunter and even John Edwards had coordinated their denials of the paternity allegation against Edwards to the media: [More...]
Here's what I wrote, just in case you see it tomorrow or the next day in the MSM:
Here's the First Enquirer article Oct 10, 2007.Now, the denials: The 12/19/07 Enquirer update has denials of any affair made by Edwards on October 11 -- and by his lawyer and lawyers for Hunter and Young as to paternity in mid December. The bolding of dates in the quotes is by me.
....Reporters asked Edwards about The ENQUIRER report during a campaign stop in Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 11. Edwards responded: "The story is false. It's completely untrue, ridiculous," adding: "Anyone who knows me knows that I have been in love with the same woman for 30 plus years."
From Edwards' lawyer, days after the Enquirer took the December 12 photo of pregnant Rielle in North Carolina:
....things changed dramatically when The ENQUIRER contacted Edwards for a comment just days later. Edwards' lawyer called The ENQUIRER and denied the well-coiffed Democratic candidate is the father of Rielle's baby, adding that Rielle would deny it as well.
One day after the call from Edwards' lawyer, Andrew Young's lawyer's issued this statement:
"Andrew Young is the father of Ms. Hunter's unborn child," declared his Washington, D.C.-based attorney. Sen. Edwards knew nothing about the relationship between these former co-workers, which began when they worked together in 2006. As a private citizen who no longer works for the campaign, Mr. Young asks that the media respect his privacy while he works to make amends with his family."
From Rielle Hunter's lawyer:
In a statement issued to The ENQUIRER through her attorney, Rielle said: "The fact that I am expecting a child is my personal and private business. This has no relationship to nor does it involve John Edwards in any way. Andrew Young is the father of my unborn child."
The fact that all three lawyers -- those for Edwards, Hunter and Young -- contacted the Enquirer within days of the publication of her being photographed pregnant on December 12, and that Edwards' lawyer told them that Rielle was going to deny the paternity allegation, suggests to me, as a lawyer, it was a joint strategy.
Edwards should have dropped out in October even if new rumors he rekindled the affair in 2007 aren't true. But if he did get re-involved with Hunter in 2007, it's inexcusable that he didn't get out, if not in October, certainly in December when her pregnancy became public knowledge -- even if it turns out he isn't the father. Privacy was long-gone by that point.
As to whether he lied to Elizabeth and is still lying to Elizabeth, that's between them and I'll offer no comment.
My concern is the effect of his prolonging his surely doomed candidacy through January 30. Here are the States that voted between Iowa and Jan 30 when Edwards dropped out:
- January 8: New Hampshire
- January 15: Michigan
- January 19: Nevada
- January 26: South Carolina (D)
- January 29: Florida
Unlike the right wing bloggers covering this who may just be gleeful to see John Edwards, a prominent Democrat trashed, it bothers me for a different reason. I'm angry that Edwards didn't drop out in October or December, 2007 when the affair and then the pregnancy were first reported -- and that instead he chose to lie about the affair and continue his candidacy.
Not only did his staying in the race change its dynamic, even if it didn't affect the outcome, which we'll never know, had he become the nominee and this came out now or in the fall, the Democrats would never win in November and we'd be looking at another four years of Republican rule. That he took that risk which affected all Democrats based on arrogance and ego makes me very angry.
On one level I'm angry because I supported both Edwards and Hillary between October and December. I covered them equally in Iowa and spent hours attending his campaign events and writing about them. I would have endorsed Hillary much earlier had Edwards not been in the race. As a blogger, that matters to me.
As a lawyer, it bothers me that the Justice Department elected to prosecute two lawyers, Geoff Fieger and Pierce O'Donnell, who raised money for Edwards charging they reimbursed donors with their own money, issuing press releases calling the Edwards' campaign a victim. In Fieger's case, the release stresses that the campaign had fully cooperated with them.
What's good for the goose should be good for the gander, and if evidence develops that Edwards' PAC spent donors' money on Rielle Hunter that was unassociated with the legitimate video work she did for the campaign -- either through payments made directly to her or in covering more of her air travel and hotel expenses than were associated with her video work -- then the campaign should be investigated just as Geoff Fieger and Pierce O'Donnell were investigated. Fieger, you may recall, was acquitted.
I hope it turns out that Edwards and Baron did nothing improper or illegal. I presume they did not and I'm not suggesting they did. But there are questions. Given that this blog covers the politics of crime and the crime in politics. I'd be remiss if I just skipped over it.
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