Local Politics

Widow of Edwards campaign financier at Raleigh courthouse

Posted January 5, 2011

— The widow of Fred Baron, the finance chairman of John Edwards' presidential campaigns, appeared Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, where a grand jury is investigating Edwards' campaign spending.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, but Edwards' attorney has said the panel is looking into Edwards' campaign finances to determine whether any funds were used improperly, including whether money was used to hide an affair Edwards had with staffer Rielle Hunter.

Hunter gave birth to a girl in February 2008, and Edwards has admitted the child is his daughter.

During the 2008 campaign, Edwards' top aide, Andrew Young, said he was the father of Hunter's child, and Baron provided money so Hunter, Young and Young's family to move from the Triangle to California to get out of the campaign spotlight.

Young claims in his tell-all book, "The Politician," that Baron flew them on his private jet to a home in Aspen, Colo., and then paid for Hunter and the Youngs to live in a home in California that cost $20,000 a month.

Young also said in a February 2010 interview with WRAL News that Baron paid him $325,000 to finish his home near Chapel Hill during the time in California so he could sell the house and wouldn't have to return to North Carolina.

Widow of Edwards campaign financier at Raleigh courthouse Widow of Edwards campaign financier at Raleigh courthouse

Baron, a Dallas lawyer, died of cancer in 2008. It's unclear whether his widow, Lida Blue-Baron, has any inside knowledge of his financial dealings.

Last month, two former campaign aides and four family members of a wealthy Edwards donor also appeared at the federal courthouse while the grand jury was in session.

Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the 100-year-old heiress to the fortunes of both 19th century industrialist Andrew Mellon and the Warner-Lambert pharmaceutical company, now part of Pfizer, was a major political contributor to Edwards in his 2008 presidential campaign. She gave $3.4 million in late 2007 to The Alliance for a New America, a nonprofit supporting his candidacy.

She also gave $700,000 to Young, and the money is said to have been used to pay for expenses incurred by Hunter.

Hunter and her daughter appeared at the federal courthouse in August 2009. Other former campaign aides also have apparently testified before the grand jury.

Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, has denied wrongdoing.

20 Comments

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  • alx Jan 5, 6:38 p.m.

    Does anyone think WRAL made a mistake when they left out party affiliation???

  • ncken1 Jan 5, 3:22 p.m.

    What a creep and arrogant individual. He's crawling into bed with Rielle while his wife was struggling with cancer and then he lied about it repeatedly. Arrogance and sexual infidelity seems to a democrat politician's disease. Note that today's article does not state Edward's political affiliation...he's a democrat.

    This guy needs to be jailed.

  • beachboater Jan 5, 3:20 p.m.

    I always like to see Edwards name in a news story like this. I can't wait to see one that says GUILTY!!! as charged. Unlikely I know, but still something to hope for. He needs to go to South America or Africa and buy himself a dictatorship. Something any good democrat would love. (smile)

  • BadDayforButch Jan 5, 2:48 p.m.

    Let me guess how this turns out. Edwards will get a slap on the wrist and move on with his millions and Hunter. This is a waste of time.

  • Doctor Dataclerk Jan 5, 2:25 p.m.

    If they did nothing to Weasley, they'll do nothing to Edwards. With Weasley's hands in everything and they did nothing, they sure won't care where Edwards' hands have been.

  • cwood3 Jan 5, 2:03 p.m.

    NEXT!!

  • tictock Jan 5, 1:38 p.m.

    We don't care about him WRAL...find something else to write about!

  • WritNEWlaws Jan 5, 1:32 p.m.

    So tired of hearing about John Edwards! He is a very corrupt man and he and his mistress will burn for their actions! He had a good wife and decided he needed a sleeze bag. Pathetic!

  • samiam1244 Jan 5, 1:08 p.m.

    Money, power and greed is the keys to the kingdom ..John would make an excellent President to set on the throne..

  • Guitarman Jan 5, 12:41 p.m.

    I say John Edwards should be our next president. He has all the qualifications: Lies, cheats,has no concern about his family, steals money fron the government. Yep...He's the perfect guy for the job.

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