Local Politics

Relatives of Edwards donor at Raleigh courthouse

Posted December 3, 2010 10:51 a.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2010 1:49 p.m. EST

— Four relatives of a wealthy donor to John Edwards were at the federal courthouse in Raleigh on Friday, where a grand jury has been investigating the two-time Democratic presidential candidate.

Sources told WRAL News that Stacy Lloyd III, the son of heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon; his two sons, Stacy Lloyd IV and Thomas Lloyd; and Thomas Lloyd's wife, Ricki Lloyd, were called to testify before the grand jury.

Grand jury proceedings are secret, but the panel is believed to be 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 who Edwards has admitted is his daughter.

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 Andrew Young, a former top aide to Edwards who posed as the father of Hunter's child during the 2008 campaign. The money is said to have been used to pay for expenses incurred by Hunter.

According to a book written by Young, the money was given to Bryan Huffman, Mellon's decorator in Monroe, and the checks were then signed over to the campaign.

FBI agents have twice visited Mellon's estate in Upperville, Va., to speak with her, sources said.

A year ago, Edwards flew a private jet owned by the corporate entity that holds Mellon's fortune to a private airstrip on her estate. He declined to discuss the visit upon his return to Raleigh.

Sources said the Lloyds – Stacy Lloyd III is a son from Mellon's first marriage – don't have any information about the money Mellon gave to Edwards. They were expected to testify about how she might have been pulled into an alleged cover-up of Edwards' affair, sources said.

On Thursday, two former Edwards aides were at the federal courthouse.

Jonathan Prince, who was the deputy campaign manager for Edwards' 2004 campaign, spent four hours inside the courthouse on Thursday morning. Jennifer Palmieri, the spokeswoman for the 2004 campaign, was inside for most of the afternoon.

Neither commented upon leaving the courthouse.

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. His attorney, Wade Smith, declined to comment Friday.