Grand Jury Indicts Former Sen. John Edwards

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A federal grand jury has indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards for charges related to attempts to cover up an affair while running for the White House.

Edwards is facing six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions, and one count of false statements.
 
The former senator allegedly spent more than $925,000 in campaign donations to cover up an extra-marital affair he had with videographer Rielle Hunter while he was running for president in 2008.

According to the indictment, the funds were used to protect Edwards' White House ambitions.

"Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and the pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy," the jurors concluded.

Edwards initially denied the affair and resulting love-child, but finally admitted to the indiscretion in January 2010. Still, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying his actions did not violate any laws.

Prosecutors think otherwise.

"We will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws,'' said Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Criminal Division.

"Our campaign finance system is designed to preserve the integrity of democratic elections - for the presidency and all other elected offices - and we will vigorously pursue abuses of the kind alleged today," he said.
    
Friday's charges, filed in Greensboro, N.C., come after a two-year federal investigation.

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