Trial of former U.S. presidential hopeful Edwards begins
|Former U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful and former U.S. Senator John Edwards departs the U.S. District Court with his daughter Cate (L-rear) after pleading not guilty to six federal charges in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, June 3, 2011. Edwards was indicted Friday for using nearly $1 million in illegal campaign funds to help cover up an extramarital affair during his White House bid. In a fall from grace for a man once expected to go far in American politics, Edwards, 57, was charged with six counts, including conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions and making false statements, according to the federal indictment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)|
WASHINGTON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The political corruption trial of former U.S. Presidential hopeful John Edwards began on Monday in a federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina, according to local reports.
The trial began with prosecutors asserting that Edwards knew that nearly 1 million dollars from two wealthy donors were illegal campaign contributions and not aid from friends trying to help him hide an affair from his wife, the late Elizabeth Edwards.
Edwards was indicted last year on six federal counts of campaign finance law violations, and the former senator from North Carolina, 58, faces up to 30 years in prison and 1.5 million dollars in fines, if convicted on all six counts.
The defense argued that the payment was largely a scam by campaign aide Andrew Young, to siphon money from the banking heiress Rachel Mellon. Other payments went to cover the medical expenses of Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, and to keep the affair secret. Edwards went along with this plan to avoid humiliation for himself and his wife.
The prosecution charged Edwards with one count of conspiracy for violating federal campaign finance laws and making false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), four counts of accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions from two donors in 2007 and 2008, and one count of concealing those illegal donations from the FEC, according to the Justice Department.
The charges arise from hundreds of thousands of dollars two prominent campaign donors gave to videographer Rielle Hunter, who had an affair and a child with Edwards.
According to the indictment, during the 2008 presidential race, Edwards accepted campaign contributions in excess of lawful limits to protect and advance his candidacy from disclosure of an ongoing extramarital affair with Hunter and her resulting pregnancy.
WASHINGTON, June 3 (Xinhua) -- Former U.S. presidential candidate John Edwards was on Friday indicted on six federal counts of campaign finance law violations, and lawyers of the former senator from North Carolina said he will plead not guilty.