Cover Up Of Edwards Scandal Now Headline News

The cover up often does do more harm than the initial crime. Initially the mainstream media ignored the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter scandal, not due to liberal bias as the right wing bloggers claimed but because, with all parties denying the affair, there was insufficient material for the media to work with. Once Democratic officials began to discuss the implications of the scandal on the convention there was a hook for the media. The story changed further when Edwards both admitted to the affair and gave an explanation which did not appear to be truthful, providing reporters with an avenue for investigation. This includes a front page story at The New York Times on the cover up of the scandal:

As tabloid reports of a sex scandal threatened former Senator John Edwards’s presidential campaign last December on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, two lawyers surfaced with written statements that appeared to exonerate the candidate.

One of them, Robert J. Gordon of New York, said that his client, Rielle Hunter, a pregnant 43-year-old filmmaker, was not carrying Mr. Edwards’s child. Shortly thereafter, the other lawyer, Pamela J. Marple of Washington, sent word that her client, Andrew Young, an Edwards campaign aide, was the baby’s father.

Seemingly issued independently of Mr. Edwards, the statements appeared to deflate the anonymously sourced reports of an Edwards tryst. But what went unnoticed was that the two lawyers shared an important connection to Mr. Edwards that suggests they were part of an orchestrated effort to protect him, one that is continuing even after he admitted last week that he had an affair with Ms. Hunter but denied that he fathered her child.

The lawyers are linked through Fred Baron, a wealthy Dallas lawyer and former finance chairman for the Edwards campaign who was a key player in the campaign’s response to the scandal. Mr. Gordon has worked with Mr. Baron on class-action personal injury cases, and Ms. Marple helped defend a lawsuit brought against both men and their law firms by an asbestos manufacturer.

After initially saying that he did not know how the lawyers were chosen to represent Ms. Hunter and Mr. Young, Mr. Baron acknowledged that he might have played a role.

The revelations of ties among the lawyers emerged through public records and interviews with people close to Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter, which suggested that their affair went on longer than Mr. Edwards admitted and that the effort to conceal it by Mr. Edwards’s inner circle was much more extensive than has been reported.

The review found that Mr. Edwards’s political action committee went to unusual lengths to make a final $14,000 payment to Ms. Hunter’s film company months after its contract with the committee had ended. The payment was issued while the committee was short on cash and could pay its bills only after receiving thousands of dollars from Mr. Edwards’s presidential campaign and donations from four people, including Mr. Baron’s wife.

Furthermore, a woman who helped Ms. Hunter create a Web site on New Age spirituality in 2006 says she regularly corresponded with her about a married North Carolina man named John whom Ms. Hunter was dating in March of that year, if not earlier. Mr. Edwards has said his affair with Ms. Hunter did not begin until after she had started doing video work for his political action committee months later.

Political Wire comments on the significance of these reports:

The paper says the Edwards “went to unusual lengths” to make a final $14,000 payment Ms. Hunter. As the AP notes, the payment to Hunter “is significant because its source was Edwards’ OneAmerica political action committee, whose expenditures are governed by U.S. election laws. Willfully converting money from a political action committee for personal use would have been a federal criminal violation.”

Several people close to Edwards have told Political Wire that Edwards’ insistence that the affair was over before he announced his candidacy — which photos now disprove — is important to protect him from campaign finance violations.

Edwards has long been suspected of playing fast and loose with election laws, such as the manner in which he used his poverty center as a front to continuing campaigning after the 2004 election. In this case there might be violations of the law which could lead to prosecution.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Dave Dragon says:

    It’s amazing in this day & time that anyone in the public eye would try to continue to cover up a extra-marital tryst once made public.

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