Local Politics

Edwards' donor pleads guilty to illegal donations

Posted August 4, 2011 9:06 p.m. EDT

— A John Edwards donor to pleaded guilty to illegal donations on Thursday.

Court documents show Pierce O'Donnell, a prominent Los Angeles trial lawyer, admitted he gave employees and a relative a total of $20,000 to donate to Edwards' 2004 presidential campaign.

The charges don’t appear to be related to the criminal case against the former senator.

A grand jury in June indicted Edwards on six felony charges related to money that was used to cover up his affair and child with Rielle Hunter, a videographer who chronicled his 2008 presidential campaign.

Federal prosecutors say Edwards accepted $900,000 in contributions from heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Texas banker Fred Barron – far above the legal limit – and filed filing false campaign finance reports to hide the donations.

Edwards has maintained that the contributions were gifts and didn't need to be reported. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.