The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

April 23, 2012

Stat of the day: 12 percent

Stat of the day: 12 percent. That’s the amount of the vote in the 2004 Democratic primary garnered by then-candidate John Edwards in the Central Susquehanna Valley.

In all, Edwards received 1,085 votes in the Valley, second only to winner John Kerry. Statewide, Edwards finished third in the voting behind Howard Dean.

In a federal criminal case that has the markings of sex, money, betrayal and a handsome politician’s fall from grace, former presidential candidate John Edwards’ trial for alleged campaign finance violations opened Monday.

Edwards is accused of accepting more than $900,000 in illegal contributions during his 2008 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, to pay the expenses of his mistress and hide the extramarital affair that, if revealed to voters, almost certainly would have derailed his campaign and shattered his public image as a devoted family man.

The former senator from North Carolina has pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations. If convicted of all charges, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Monday morning and the much-anticipated trial is expected to last at least six weeks.

Prosecutors contend that bills paid by two Edwards benefactors, Rachel “Bunny“ Mellon, a banking heiress from Virginia, and the late Fred Baron, a Texas lawyer, actually were unreported campaign contributions designed to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter, a campaign videographer who gave birth to his daughter.

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