John Edwards Indicted on Six Counts

The John Edwards Indictment has arrived. It contains six counts. You can read it here.

It's all about Rielle Hunter and Andrew Young, Fred Baron and Bunny Mellon. Nothing as I thought here about his PACS and other campaign related companies. The New York Times writes:

At issue are financial contributions that prosecutors say Mr. Edwards received in excess of federal limits, did not report properly and then misused for the political purpose of hiding his extramarital affair to save his candidacy. Mr. Edwards, 57, has maintained that he used the money to hide the affair, but for private purposes — to conceal it from his wife.


Person A is Andrew Young. Person B is Rielle Hunter. Person C is Bunny Mellon. Person D is Fred Baron.

The amount paid to Young and Hunter: $725,000 in payments made by Bunny Mellon and another $200,000 made by Baron.

The false statement charge alleges he caused the John Edwards for President Committee to create and file false campaign reports with the FEC.

There's an interesting paragraph alleging that in July and August, 2009, he worked with a former campaign staffer to draft a statement admitting paternity of Rielle Hunter's child. The former staffer evidently told the grand jury that Edwards admitted that during the campaign he knew about the money Baron paid to Hunter and Young. He allegedly told the former staffer not to mention the payments in the statement. The statement was never released.

Who was the staffer? Could it be Wendy Button, who wrote a long article about helping Edwards draft a statement in July and August, 2009 that he didn't use? [Update: Sources say yes.]

At least two former Edwards campaign workers appeared before the grand jury: Jonathan Prince, who was Edwards' former deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince and former campaign spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri.

John Edwards will appear in court at 2:30 pm ET. His lawyers will make a statement. They intend to fight the charges.

< The Default Message | John Edwards Arrives at Court >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I don't use the word 'disgrace' lightly (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ruffian on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 12:07:49 PM EST
    but if these charges are true it certainly applies. This man was the Dem VP nominee and a great hope for many. I'm disappointed beyond words.

    Big Tent reminder: fight for issues, (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oldpro on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 12:28:23 PM EST
    never for politicians.

    And don't confuse the message with the messenger.

    Pathetic that so many could not see through this transparent ego-driven performer, legitimized apparently by a deluded wife with a made-for-media sob story of epic proportions.

    I just thought he was weak. (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by observed on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 03:16:52 PM EST
    The debate with Cheney really lowered my opinion of his intelligence and readiness for office.

    Not gloating, not hindsight, not a dude, (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oldpro on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 11:26:43 AM EST

    From the beginning, to my eye and ear, the word to describe Edwards was smarmy.  With almost no experience or background to speak of, Edwards tried to get by on what passes for charm.  He wasn't quite as good at it as the current president and didn't have as good a sales pitch.  Still, he was nearly our vice president.

    You're right about the con artist and the inability of most folks to spot the con before buying the aluminum siding...but that's just an excuse, not a reason.  Wise up, people.


    Anyone who hears dead children (none / 0) (#4)
    by observed on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 12:37:46 PM EST

    Meaning what, exactly? (none / 0) (#6)
    by oldpro on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    I admit chemobrain sometimes makes it difficult to follow the bouncing ball or connect all the dots but this time I'm hoping it's you and not me!

    Con artist? (none / 0) (#23)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:42:48 PM EST
    I know of absolutely nothing to even suggest Edwards was/is a con artist in anything but this one aspect of his personal life.  Do you?

    Con artist might be a (none / 0) (#28)
    by brodie on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 10:49:23 AM EST
    little strong, at least outside of the womanizing and deception involved there.

    There were a couple of non-related incidents that were in the books prior to 2008 about Edwards and his possible propensity to deceive, as it related to Kerry as he decided on a VP pick in 2004.  It involved one strange story Edwards told him about his deceased son which he didn't realize he'd told Kerry a year or so earlier, and there was apparently a promise demanded by Kerry that Edwards not run against him for prez in 2008 if the ticket didn't win in 04, a promise Edwards broke of course.

    Beyond that, I think he was only "conning" the public in the accepted ways pols do when they position themselves to run for the next higher office, as he suddenly went from moderate Dem senator and pro-Iraq War in 2003-4, to the apologetic liberal firebrand populist for the downtrodden in 2005, positioning himself deliberately to the left as he anticipated a Hillary moderate Dem candidacy.  

    Plenty of lib Dems bought his sudden transformation and populist son-of-a-mill worker talk -- others of us were more skeptical.

    That said, I hope this cad beats the current rap.


    Arrogance blinds the powerful! (none / 0) (#5)
    by Gerald USN Ret on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 12:55:18 PM EST
    The list goes on forever.

    Extremely tawdry (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 01:21:46 PM EST
    And appar. This relationship began in 2006.  

    Defense attorney Greg Craig (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 03:10:08 PM EST
    (former White House counsel) is absolutely right about this indictment.  The campaign finance law is one of those unusual, technical laws that cannot be enforced in a criminal case unless the person knows s/he's violating the law. (To put is another way, "ignorance of the law" IS "an excuse.") If, as Craig says, the indictment is based on a novel theory of interpreting the campaign finance law, then regardless of what anyone thinks of Edwards' conduct otherwise, it will be difficult to prosecute and convict him under the law that is being invoked against him.

    Except (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 03:42:58 PM EST
    Won't it be difficult to claim John Edwards is ignorant of campaign finance laws, since he had previously run for president, and, oh, by the way, sat in the United States Senate and helped write such laws??

    Well, I suppose (none / 0) (#13)
    by Zorba on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 03:49:47 PM EST
    he could claim that a staffer wrote anything dealing with campaign finance law and that he never actually read it.   ;-)

    If the indictment were based on plain language (none / 0) (#16)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 06:00:21 PM EST
    in the statute, he could not claim ignorance.  The point is that the theory of the indictment is -- so it seems -- a novel and unprecedented interpretation of the statute.  Where there is a non-criminal enforcement structure in place (the FERC), that's the place to test extensions and new applications of the law, not in criminal court.

    Very interesting, thanks. (none / 0) (#11)
    by observed on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 03:19:58 PM EST
    Does this clause hold for technical laws in the finance/stock sector as well?
    E.g., with insider trading?

    No, not when you are a licensed participant (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Peter G on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 05:57:29 PM EST
    in a regulated industry, carrying out fiduciary duties to others.

    Good point--- but for someone like (none / 0) (#30)
    by observed on Mon Jun 06, 2011 at 09:31:30 AM EST
    Martha Stewart?

    And this could be interesting (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 04:13:38 PM EST
    Bunny Mellon's own words, in a letter:

    "I was sitting alone in a grim mood-furious that the press attacked Senator Edwards on the price of a haircut," she wrote, according to the indictment. "But it inspired me -- from now on, all haircuts, etc. that are necessary and important for his campaign-please send the bills to me...It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions."

    meaning she believed (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:51:47 PM EST
    it was legal. There's no crime in legally avoiding government restrictions.

    jbinc, you are over limit (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 06:53:12 PM EST
    in your comments. You can return another day so long as you don't post more than four comments in threads addressing crime issues.

    Have and of Ms. Mellon's (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 06:58:19 PM EST
    future beneficiaries tried to put her under a conservatorship?

    Crafty & interesting, interjection, oculus. (none / 0) (#20)
    by christinep on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 09:22:12 PM EST
    Googling brought me to this Jeralyn (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 10:17:35 PM EST
    post:  link

    Ms. Mellon's attorney has power of attorney.  He was a strong supporter of Edwards' candidacy.  Tres interessant.  


    I've written about him (none / 0) (#22)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:40:42 PM EST
    a few times, including just yesterday. His name is Alexander Forger and he too was a witness before the grand jury. Here's what he had to say about it.

    Not to mention (none / 0) (#25)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:48:59 PM EST
    Edwards had huge support among trial lawyers in general. A few, like Geoff Feiger and Pierce O'Donnell, were charged with making donations to him in other people's names to get around the limits. Fieger was acquitted (Gerry Spence represented him.) In O'Donnell's case, the court threw out some counts but the 9th Circuit reversed, and checking the docket today, it looks like the case may be back on.

    Given the content of the handwritten notes from Mellon to Andrew Young, it's unlikely Forger was behind the contributions. There were reports that Mellon's favoring Edwards stemmed from her desire to see Hillary defeated, having to do with a dispute about the White House garden.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find many big name Democratic trial lawyers that didn't favor Edwards before Iowa.


    I really don't see the difference (none / 0) (#19)
    by lawyerjim on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 08:43:58 PM EST

    between what Edwards is accused of and what Ensign did: get others to pay a mistress to be quiet.

    Ensign's (none / 0) (#24)
    by gyrfalcon on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 11:45:48 PM EST
    actions seem to me to be far more egregiously illegal under "black law."  You don't even need an obscure advisory opinion to justify a prosecution.

    What a fall (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jun 04, 2011 at 01:24:50 AM EST