Edwards case: The key questions

From staff reportsJune 3, 2011 

The key questions in the federal case against John Edwards are:

1. Whether payments to Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, and to a campaign staffer, Andrew Young, were intended to keep Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign alive.

2. Whether Edwards knew about those payments.

Payments for Hunter never touched campaign accounts and weren't reported on campaign disclosure forms. The money went to Young and Hunter directly from the donors or through intermediaries.

Prosecutors say the money was essentially campaign spending — intended to save the campaign by keeping Edwards' affair with Hunter secret. They will point out that one donor, the late Fred Baron, was a key figure in Edwards' national campaigns. The other donor was multimillionaire Rachel "Bunny" Mellon.

Edwards' lawyers say the money was intended to conceal the affair from Edwards' late wife, Elizabeth, and was not connected to the campaign.

Read J. Andrew Curliss' analysis for a more detailed examination of the legal issues.

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