Former presidential candidate John Edwards has been accused of directing nearly $1 million in donor contributions to support his pregnant lover and has been criminally charged with campaign finance violations. That’s how the case went.

GREENSBORO, NC - MAY 31: Former US Senator John Edwards exits Federal Courthouse on May 31, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Edwards was acquitted of one count and, after nine days of jury deliberation in his corruption trial, a mistrial was declared on the five other counts.  (Photo by Sara D Davis/Getty Images)

Former US Senator John Edwards exits federal courthouse May 31, 2012 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Sara D Davis/Getty Images)Sara D Davis/Getty Images

  • John Edwards was charged in 2011 with campaign finance violations related to his 2008 presidential bid.

  • He was accused by the DOJ of channeling nearly $1 million in donations to his pregnant lover.

  • Edwards was acquitted of one charge of violating campaign finance – the others were dropped.

As indictment looms over former President Donald Trump for allegedly paying Stormy Daniels hush money to keep her affair quiet, legal experts are speculating what the outcome will be if Trump is charged in connection with campaign finance violations.

The last time a presidential candidate was charged with alleged campaign finance violations, John Edwards faced up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Edwards was John Kerry’s 2004 running mate in the pair’s losing race against George W. Bush and Dick Cheney before launching his own presidential campaign in 2008.

The felony the former North Carolina senator faced in 2011 — one charge of conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws and lying to the Federal Elections Commission, four counts of accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions, and one charge of concealing those illegal contributions the FEC – stemmed from his own 2008 campaign. Each carried a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

“Mr. Edwards is said to have accepted more than $900,000 to hide from the public facts that he believed would harm his candidacy,” Assistant Attorney General Breuer said in a Justice Department statement on the indictment.

A year-long investigation and court case revealed that the facts Edwards was accused of conspiring with his campaign staff to cover up were that he had fathered a daughter with his mistress in 2007 while his wife was battling breast cancer.

Edwards later admitted to the affair that he was the girl’s father and supported the couple financially. His wife Elizabeth filed for separation after Edwards admitted the child was his, but died of her illness before charges were brought.

In the case against him, DOJ officials argued that Edwards staged a series of illegal donations to make hush money payments to his mistress and then conspired with his associates to lie about the affair and label the illegal donations with check notes such as “chairs.” cover up. “Antique” and “Bookshelf”.

Legal experts considered the case shaky because the charges were not based on any specific federal law but on an FEC advisory opinion that argued gifts to political candidates should be considered campaign donations, CNN and The Washington Post reported at the time.

After nine days of deliberations, a jury acquitted Edwards of one charge of accepting an illegal donation, ABC News reported, but was hopelessly deadlocked on the other five counts, resulting in a mistrial. The Justice Department chose not to try Edwards again, Politico reported.

“It’s not illegal to be a pig,” Brett Kappel, a Washington campaign finance expert, told the Washington Post when the charges were brought. “Is what Edwards did slimy? Absolutely. Everyone will agree that it was reprehensible. But it’s not a crime.”

Edwards did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, which was sent to his law firm.

Former President Donald Trump said Saturday he expects to be arrested next week in connection with an ongoing investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney related to an alleged $130,000 hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election .

Though Trump said he expects to be arrested, his lawyers say that’s speculation and it remains unclear what action the prosecutor’s office will take or when.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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