Edwards case: Key dates

FROM STAFF REPORTSMay 25, 2011 

November 1998: John Edwards is elected to his first political office, the U.S. Senate, as a Democrat from North Carolina.

September 2003: Edwards announces his run for the presidency and says he will not seek re-election to the Senate.

2004: Edwards impresses heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the widow of billionaire Paul Mellon, who begins donating to his campaign.

July 2004: Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry picks Edwards as his running mate.

November 2004: Edwards and Kerry lose the November election to President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. The following day, John and Elizabeth Edwards learn that she has breast cancer.

2004: The Alliance for a New America, a political 527 group named for the tax code section that governs it, is launched by Edwards' campaign manager, Nick Baldrick.

February 2005: Edwards is named director of the new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill.

February 2006: Edwards meets videographer Rielle Hunter while attending a business meeting at a hotel in Manhattan.

June 2006: Hunter and business partner Mimi Hockman incorporate Midline Groove productions and sign a contract with Edwards' political action committee. She begins traveling with him as staff videographer.

December 2006: Edwards announces his second run for the presidency.

March 2007: Edwards learns that his wife's cancer has returned.

May 2007: Hunter tells Edwards that she is pregnant. Andrew Young, an Edwards campaign aide, and Edwards ask Mellon for money to use to keep Hunter silent, according to the grand jury indictment.

October 2007: Hunter begins living with Young and his wife. 

October 2007: The National Enquirer begins reporting that Edwards is having an affair, but does not name Hunter. 

December 2007: The National Enquirer publishes a photograph of a pregnant Hunter. Edwards asks Young to claim paternity of Hunter’s child. Edwards and Young arrange for Fred Baron, Edwards' campaign finance chairman, to pay for the travel and accommodations of Young, his family and Hunter to help them avoid the media, according to the indictment.

January 2008: Edwards drops out of the presidential race.

February 2008: Barack Obama visits Edwards in Chapel Hill to ask for his endorsement in the presidential race. Ten days later, on Feb. 27, Hunter gives birth to Edwards' daughter, Frances Quinn. Edwards denies being the father, and Andrew Young claims paternity. A month later, Edwards visits his newborn daughter in Beverly Hills. 

July 2008: Edwards visits Hunter and the baby again at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, and he is confronted by a reporter from The Enquirer. Edwards runs into a bathroom to avoid him.

August 2008: Edwards goes on "20/20" to admit his affair with Hunter, but lies about the scope of the affair and continues to deny being the father of her child.

October 2008: Fred Baron dies.

2008: Over the course of 2008, Mellon gives $3.48 million to The Alliance for a New America, and more to other groups tied to Edwards. The Alliance for a New America pays $3.3 million to an LLC called AFNA for consulting. The limited liability company did not have to publicly disclose how its money was spent.

May 2009: Edwards acknowledges an ongoing federal investigation into his campaign finances, an investigation seeking to learn whether Edwards and Young orchestrated payments between donors and Hunter.

July 2009: Andrew Young testifies before a federal grand jury in Raleigh.

August 2009: Hunter is called before a federal grand jury in Raleigh.

January 2010:

  • John Edwards admits that he is the father of Rielle Hunter's daughter.

  • John and Elizabeth Edwards confirm reports that they are separated.

  • An Orange County judge grants a temporary restraining order requiring Young and his wife to turn over a video tape belonging to Hunter which allegedly contains images of Hunter and Edwards having sex.

December 2010: Relatives of Mellon are subpoenaed to appear before the federal grand jury investigating Edwards' campaign finances.

Dec. 7, 2010: Elizabeth Edwards dies of cancer.

April 2011: Superior Court Judge Carl Fox says that John Edwards must testify in the Andrew Young sex tape case but agrees to hold the deposition in private. The date is set for June 20.

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