WRAL Investigates

Sources: Edwards investigation close to wrapping up

Posted May 24, 2011

— The investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' affair and campaign finances is coming to a conclusion.

Sources told WRAL News on Tuesday that a major development would occur in the next two weeks. It could be an indictment or perhaps a plea deal. Sources said it's unlikely that prosecutors would walk away from the case.

The investigation appears to have zeroed in on money from a 100-year-old campaign supporter and attempts to hide Edwards' affair with a campaign staffer.

Former Edwards aide Andrew Young wrote in his tell-all book, "The Politician," that heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon gave Edwards a total of $700,000 as a gift. The so-called "Bunny money" helped fund the cover-up of Edwards' affair with video producer Rielle Hunter, who was pregnant with the former U.S. senator's child.

Political observers have said the money was a campaign contribution and should have been noted in Edwards' campaign finance reports.

There are also questions about millions of dollars from Mellon that went to The Alliance for a New America, a nonprofit that supported Edwards' candidacy. Money from the nonprofit was paid to a consultant agency that no longer exists.

WRAL News spoke with Edwards on Tuesday, but he declined to comment. In 2009, he released a statement through his attorney to say that he was confident no funds from his campaign were used improperly.

Young told WRAL News in a 2010 interview that Mellon was in the dark about how her money was being used.

He said Edwards' campaign finance chairman, wealthy Texas lawyer Fred Baron, used it to finance flights and pay rent on a California home for Hunter and Young's family during the period when Young pretended to be the father of Hunter's baby.

Baron died from cancer in 2008, but his widow appeared before the federal grand jury in Raleigh in January. Investigators have interviewed Mellon twice at her estate in Virginia, and some of her family members testified before the grand jury in December.

Although federal investigators in North Carolina have been in charge of the case, it has been under review by the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., in recent months.

Sources said Edwards wouldn't be surprised if he's indicted.

41 Comments

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  • alx May 26, 12:03 p.m.

    ok lets go with what bush did was bad.. so was what hitler did.. but it's not relevant in this conversation ..unless you are trying to excuse Edward's behavior

  • Snookyone May 25, 4:31 p.m.

    A man can cheat one his wife and still create and enact good policy. We're all paying for the sorry work by the Bush administration. Edwards didn't hurt me, only himself and those close to him. Yet I see no end to the destruction caused by the republicans when Bush was in office. The Edwards story pales in comparison.

  • baracus May 25, 3:35 p.m.

    "Cheating on a wife fighting cancer and people still bring Bush into the conversation."

    Yes, can we please concentrate on Gingrich!?

  • unc70 May 25, 3:20 p.m.

    So how is Edwards that different from many others, Newt for example?

    BTW For all the discussion about WRAL.com bias in their coverage, I have not seen any coverage of Tuesday's big political story. The Dem victory in NY-26, first in 150 years. Why the Dem win? Because Rep candidate said she would have voted for Ryan budget proposal that would have turned Medicare into a voucher system, destroying the current Medicare system. Every Repub in House voted for that bill, so they will need to "explain" their vote.

  • alx May 25, 3:08 p.m.

    Cheating on a wife fighting cancer and people still bring Bush into the conversation.

  • The Fox May 25, 2:36 p.m.

    [What has fighting terrorist got to do with a NC Senator, presidental candidate, husband and father lying and stealing from people who trusted him so that everyone wouldn't know about his mistress.]

    Sounds like a lead in to a riddle. And the answer is?

  • Snookyone May 25, 2:32 p.m.

    NOTHING is a bad as what the Bush Administration did to America. NOTHING!!!

  • luvbailey May 25, 2:32 p.m.

    It couldn't happen to a more deserving man.

  • freddie cadetti 72 May 25, 2:11 p.m.

    A lot of well educated, ITB people voted for this guy. Goes to show you how blind love really is.

  • mustainemad May 25, 2:04 p.m.

    and just how many of my tax dollars has it taken for them to figure out he slept around??? I could have told them that for free!!!! Guess they just couldn't miss the opportunity to see the tape!

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