Former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John Edwards, 58, goes on trial on Monday. He is accused of conspiring to solicit money, receiving more than the $2,300 from one donor, and failing to report contributions. One charge is for accepting more than $900,000 in campaign funds from two donors.
Prosecutors said that he did not report the contributions because he knew there was a risk of exposing his extramarital affair, according to a Reuters report.
He faces six felony counts, each carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Edwards admits personal failings but insists he broke no laws.
Edwards was a married father of three, whose late wife, Elizabeth, had breast cancer.
The main government witness against Edwards will be Andrew Young an Edwards’ aid who has written a book about the Edwards’ affair and their campaign efforts to keep from the public.
Young is being granted immunity, as he initially claimed to be the father of the child by Edwards and Reille Hunter. Young and Hunter settled a law suit earlier this year that called for video tapes of her having sex with Edwards be destroyed.
Jurors will hear opening statements the federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Edwards, 58, is accused of conspiring to solicit the money, receiving more than the $2,300 allowed from any one donor, and failing to report the payments as contributions.
Remembering John Edwards and the subsequent scandal will always be linked to his heroic wife Elizabeth whose grace and loyalty under extreme circumstances amazed everyone.
John Edwards fathered three children with Elizabeth. She battled breast cancer for six years before she died in December of 2010 surrounded by family and friends.
The motherly caring she showed as she died came as no surprise to Edwards' friends, who said that of all the roles she undertook in life -- political wife, cancer spokeswoman and author to name a few -- "mother" came most naturally.
Elizabeth Edwards contributed to her husband’s rise as senator and through his bids for vice president and president. She was his chief policy advisor and instrumental in encouraging him toward more liberal stances on subjects like universal health care, gay marriage, and against the war in Iraq—even though they disagreed on gay marriage and the war.
In the final years of her life, she publicly dealt with her husband's admission of his affair with Hunter and her breast cancer, writing two books and making numerous media appearances. She separated from John Edwards in early 2010, and he was not present when she died.
This was her final posting on Facebook the day before she died:
"You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human.
But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn't possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.”