The New York Times Reports on The Edwards Scandal

The New York Times story on John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter yesterday  didn’t really contain anything more than I’ve noted in previous posts. Perhaps just appearing in the Times gives this story more prominence as it remains highly ranked on Memeorandum and has received numerous blog links. The story reports on the grand jury investigation into whether the hush money paid to keep the affair quiet violates campaign finance laws and states that “he is considering declaring that he is the father of Ms. Hunter’s 19-month-old daughter.”

While this is all material which has come out earlier, for those who have not been following the story, here’s the juicy parts:

Wade M. Smith, a Raleigh lawyer who represents Mr. Edwards, declined to comment on the paternity issue directly, but said in a statement that “there may be a statement on that subject at some point, but there is no timetable and we will see how we feel about it as events unfold.”

The notion that Mr. Edwards is the father has been reinforced by the account of Andrew Young, once a close aide to Mr. Edwards, who had signed an affidavit asserting that he was the father of Ms. Hunter’s child.

Mr. Young, who has since renounced that statement, has told publishers in a book proposal that Mr. Edwards knew all along that he was the child’s father. He said Mr. Edwards pleaded with him to accept responsibility falsely, saying that would reduce the story to one of an aide’s infidelity.

In the proposal, which The New York Times examined, Mr. Young says that he assisted the affair by setting up private meetings between Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter. He wrote that Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.

I’ve heard of the promises to marry Hunter before, but the promised appearance of the Dave Matthews Band is a trivial but new point to me.

Not surprisingly many conservative blogs have linked to the story. When this story first broke it often seemed like Liberal Values was the only liberal blog following it. As Edwards’ initial denials were admitted to be untrue, even many liberal  bloggers are now discussing this, sometimes denying the full extent of the scandal. Talk Left complains that the Times story “mixes factual reporting and hearsay from a tabloid-type.” The fact of the matter is that, from the start of this story, the information has first come from the tabloids, and the tabloid accounts have later been shown to be correct.

Many liberal bloggers are primarily disappointed that Edwards was willing to run for the nomination despite the risks that this scandal would break during the 2008 campaign, likely allowing the Republicans to remain in office if Edwards had won the Democratic nomination. MyDD writes:

John Edwards is a persona non grata in the Democratic party. This sad and sordid episode continues to devolve simply because John Edwards cannot admit to the truth. Instead, Mr. Edwards choses willfully to save whatever grace he may yet possess. It is not as much the affair nor the child out of wedlock, though there is that, but the hubris with which Mr. Edwards has acted since the allegations were proven to have a certain validity. Moreover, how does one even contemplate a run at the Presidency given a personal life in disarray?

That is true, but I continue to think that the real moral of the story is that there is a need to recognize that there are dishonest and opportunistic politicians on both sides of the aisle. I had described John Edwards as one of the slimier politicians around well before the Rielle Hunter scandal surfaced. There has been plenty of evidence of this throughout his career. This began when he was an attorney who made his fortune by convincing southern juries that birth defects were caused by medical malpractice and was again seen at multiple points in his political career (which I’ve mentioned in several previous posts).

National Enquirer States Secret DNA Testing Confirms Edwards Paternity

Edwards Hunter Paternity

I wonder if John Edwards would have been smarter to have admitted everything once his affair was Rielle Hunter was confirmed. Instead he has left himself open to a steady stream of news items as new information comes out. If he had admitted to paternity of their daughter this would be a much smaller story today but instead every new information suggesting this becomes news. The latest is that The National Enquirer claims that DNA testing done in secret confirmed that he is the father. I hate to use The National Enquirer as a sole source but they have been the ones who broke the story and their claims have so far been verified.

Update: WRAL News says that their sources say Edwards plans to admit paternity.

Quote of the Day

“I personally have not seen any results for the DNA test, but I can tell you 100 percent John Edwards is the father of my sister’s child.”–Roxanne Druck (the sister of Edwards’ mistress Rielle Hunter, on Entertainment Tonight)

Bonus Quote:

“They definitely communicate. They have a daughter. They definitely communicate.”

Rielle Hunter Met Before Grand Jury Investigating John Edwards

Rielle Hunter at grand jury

A Grand Jury continues to meet, probably related to questions as to whether John Edwards illegally used campaign funds to pay hush money to his mistress. Today’s witness was Rielle Hunter. AP reports:

The former mistress of John Edwards has arrived at a federal courthouse in Raleigh where a grand jury is meeting — an appearance that comes as federal investigators examine the two-time presidential candidate’s finances…

Edwards said last year that he and Hunter had an affair in 2006 while he plotted his second bid for the White House. The former North Carolina senator’s political action committee paid Hunter’s video production firm $100,000 for work that year.

Edwards has acknowledged a federal investigation into how he handled campaign funds. Grand jury proceedings are secret, and the U.S. attorney’s office in Raleigh has declined to confirm or deny an investigation.

Hunter carried her daughter into the courthouse. The paternity of the child remains in question with John Edwards denying that he is the father.

John Edwards and Rielle Hunter, the Movie

We knew that  John Edwards brought Rielle Hunter into his campaign as a film maker but it turns out that she made a a film that was previously kept secret. An upcoming book  by Andrew Young, an aide to John Edwards, includes information on a sex tape made by Edwards and Rielle Hunter:

Former Edwards aide Andrew Young says the ex-senator and his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, once made a sex tape, according to someone who has seen Young’s book proposal.

St. Martin’s Press just inked a deal with Young, who also says in his proposal that, contrary to his public statement last year, he is not the father of Hunter’s infant daughter — Edwards is. Edwards has denied that.

Young says that his belief in Edwards ran so deep that he agreed to take the fall for the candidate, inviting the pregnant Hunter to live with him, his wife, Cheri, and their three children. Later, after Hunter delivered the baby, Young and his family moved to a different home in California.

While he was unpacking, Young discovered a videocassette, according to the book pitch. Hunter had been hired by the Edwards campaign to videotape the candidate’s movements, but this one is said to have shown him taking positions that weren’t on his official platform.

The purported sex tape confirmed to Hunter that Edwards was even more reckless than he thought.

According to our source, Hunter confided to Young that she and Edwards talked about getting married should the candidate’s cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, pass away, even discussing what music they’d play at their wedding.

No Publicity For The “Unwelcome Woman” From Elizabeth Edwards

I fail to see the logic to this:

Elizabeth Edwards has been willing to talk about most anything in interviews about her new memoir that details her husband John’s affair, but only under one condition: Interviewers must agree not to mention the name of the other woman in their broadcasts or stories..

Drake said Edwards’s restriction isn’t motivated by “anger” toward Hunter, but by a desire not to see Hunter profit from the affair. Noting that other notorious figures — such as Ashley Dupré, the call girl who slept with then-New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer — have cashed in on their media attention, Drake said Edwards “doesn’t want to contribute to putting this woman in the spotlight. She feels that, to the extent the media shines attention on people like this, that we encourage this kind of behavior. She doesn’t want to reward bad behavior.”

If Elizabeth Edwards wanted to make sure that Rielle Hunter didn’t receive any publicity perhaps she shouldn’t have written her own book on the affair, and perhaps she shouldn’t be going on all the talk shows to discuss this.  Rielle Hunter is receiving publicity over this regardless of whether her name is used in the interviews.There’s no way around this. If Elizabeth Edwards is going to cash in on the affair she is increasing the chances that Hunter can also do so.

Oh, and for whatever it is worth, at least so far I haven’t seen any signs that Hunter is trying to profit from this. The hush money from John might be all the money she needs.

Edwards Staffers Were Ready To Sabotage Campaign To Protect Party

As the rumors of John Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter spread his staffers eventually began to believe them. They realized how damaging it would be to the party if Edwards won the nomination and the rumors were later verified. George Stephanopoulos reports that some were prepared to sabotage the campaign prevent this from happening:

I’ve talked to a lot of former Edwards staffers about this. Up until December of 2007, most on Edwards’ staff didn’t believe rumors about the affair.

But by late December, early January of last year, several people in his inner circle began to think the rumors were true.

Several of them had gotten together and devised a “doomsday” strategy of sorts.

Basically, if it looked like Edwards was going to win the Democratic Party nomination, they were going to sabotage his campaign, several former Edwards’ staffers have told me.

They said they were Democrats first, and if it looked like Edwards was going to become the nominee, they were going to bring down the campaign.

Rielle Hunter Demanding Paternity Testing

Previously Rielle Hunter did not want a paternity test, but The National Enquirer reports that she is now demanding one. Perhaps she is afraid that the under the table payments to her will dry up as Edwards’ finances are probed.

John Edwards’ furious mistress is demanding he submit to a DNA test, The ENQUIRER has learned exclusively!

Rielle Hunter – the longtime secret lover of the disgraced 2-time presidential candidate – wants definitive proof that Edwards is the father of her 14-month-old love child Frances and is working with a lawyer to take legal action, say sources…

“Rielle – probably naively – now realizes she had held onto a false promise that if she continued to take part in the cover-up John had engineered, they’d be together in the future,” a close source told The ENQUIRER.

“She was willing to protect John for the sake of the child. She agreed to allow a crony of his to claim he was the baby’s father, and she even kept the name of the father blank on the birth certificate.

“But now she can see there’s never going to be a future with John – and she feels he’s lied about his promise to keep Elizabeth from trashing her in the book,” the insider divulged.

“Rielle is so infuriated by his and Elizabeth’s actions that she’s throwing her loyalty to him out of the window!”

The source added: “Rielle wants the paternity of her daughter Frances finally established. It could ruin John for good because even after admitting the affair, he vehemently denied being the father!”

DNA testing would be the best way to determine this but, if Edwards is able to prevent this from being done, I previously suggested an almost fool-proof way to determine if the girl is his daughter.

Settling The Edwards/Hunter Paternity Question

*Aug 20 - 00:05*Desk email

The New York Times and The New York Daily News report that Elizabeth Edwards, in an interview with Oprah to air on Thursday, states she has no idea if John Edwards is the father of Rielle Hunter’s daughter.

Despite John Edwards’ denials that he fathered a baby with his onetime mistress, his betrayed wife Elizabeth said she has “no idea” whether the former presidential candidate is a new dad.

In an exclusive interview set to air Thursday, Oprah Winfrey asks Elizabeth Edwards about rampant speculation that he is the father of campaign videographer Rielle Hunter’s one-year-old daughter.

“I’ve seen a picture of the baby. I have no idea.  It doesn’t look like my children.”

Elizabeth Edwards also revealed in her recent book (excerpt here) that John had initially told her the affair was limited to a single night. When asked if she still loves John she replied, “You know, that’s a complicated question.”

While that question might be complicated, there is a very simple way to establish whether the baby is John Edwards’ daughter. Have an ambulance drive by and watch to see if she follows.

Edwards Under Investigation For Using Campaign Funds As Hush Money For Mistress

There are potentially more problems for John Edwards. The Charlotte Observer reports that federal authorities are looking into money spent by the Edwards’ campaign to see if any campaign contributions were spent on hush money for his mistress, Rielle Hunter. Edwards has acknowledged that the investigation is taking place and denies these allegations.

Proving these allegations might be difficult.  The Raleigh News & Observer turned to Sheila Krumholz, executive director of Open Secrets, which monitors campaign contributions. Krumholtz noted that “John Edwards is a leader in misleading the public.” Based upon his public life, as well as his career as a trial lawyer, if anything this is an understatement.

These allegations come soon after the publication of Elizabeth Edwards’ memoirs which discussed the affair. The book revealed that Elizabeth had advised her husband to quit the presidential race to protect the family.

This investigation is not the first time that Edwards’ finances have been questioned. Edwards has also been accused of using his poverty center as a means of financing the early stages of his presidential campaign while avoiding campaign finance laws.