Edwards Accused Of Lying About Onset of Affair

ABC News reports that a friend of Rielle Hunter has been claiming that Edwards was dishonest in his account of his affair with Hunter during his recent confession:

A one-time close friend of John Edwards’ ex-mistress says the former Senator is still not telling the whole truth about how his affair with Rielle Hunter began.

Edwards told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff last week (STORY | VIDEO) that he and Hunter began their affair only after Hunter was hired for the campaign to produce a series of films for the internet and she began traveling with him.

“She was hired to come in and produce films and that’s the reason she was hired,” said Edwards.

But that version of events is now being challenged by a one time close friend of Hunter’s, Pidgeon O’Brien.

“The affair began long, long, long before she was hired to work for the campaign almost half a year before she was hired to work on those videos,” O’Brien said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

O’Brien says Hunter told her that in late February, early March 2006 she met an amazing man from North Carolina named John at a New York City hotel bar. She referred to her new man as ‘Love Lips’, whom she said was married with small children and a wife who had been ill.

Some say Hunter, a devotee of new age spirituality, is given to exaggeration.

O’Brien said she later realized this man was John Edwards.

With no previous filmmaking experience, Hunter was paid $114,000 by Edwards’ political action committee to produce a series of internet videos that included many scenes of the two on flirtatious banter.

Campaign finance records show the payments to Hunter’s newly-formed film company did not begin until July, 2006. Edwards now insists that he told the truth that the affair did not begin until after she joined the campaign.

It would not necessarily be illegal to use campaign money to pay a mistress, but hardly in keeping with the high moral tone Edwards set during his run for President.

Former Edwards campaign manager David Bonior, to whom Edwards also lied, is outraged.

“People put their heart and soul into the John Edwards campaign for President of the United States,” said Bonior. “They put their energy, they put their time, the put their resources in, they gave them their confidence and in the end, he wasn’t there for them.”

There’s been no public reaction from Hunter. She had been living, under an assumed name in a $3 million Santa Barbara, California home arranged by Edwards’ national finance campaign chairman.

If Edwards was lying in his account of the affair it creates two types of problems. If Edwards has any chance of restoring his reputation, it is important that he is perceived as having come clean by providing an honest account. If elements of his confession turn out to be untrue it will do further harm to Edwards’ credibility.

This also keeps the story alive longer. Edwards no doubt hoped that by making his confession on a Friday night at the start of the Olympics the story would not get very much attention. This clearly did not work. It would have been better to get everything out at once so that the story might have been in the headlines one day but no longer be a major story in subsequent news cycles. A report that Edwards may have lied on Friday makes this a story again on Monday. If the source is the one lying then Edwards could not help this, but if Edwards is the one who lied on Friday it was yet another error in judgment in handling this matter.

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