WASHINGTON — A federal criminal investigation targeting John Edwards is examining how much the two-time presidential candidate knew about money used to cover up his extramarital affair and out-of-wedlock child and whether he had other practices that pushed the bounds of campaign finance laws, people involved in the case have told The Associated Press.
A federal grand jury meeting in Raleigh, N.C., is combing through records and testimony involving several political organizations and individuals connected to Edwards and trying to determine if the former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee broke any laws. A recently issued subpoena focuses on a web of these political groups allied with Edwards, according to subpoena details provided to AP that offer a glimpse into the investigation being conducted behind closed doors.
The case largely stems from money spent to keep Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter, in hiding along with former campaign aide Andrew Young, who initially claimed paternity so Edwards could continue pursuing the White House without the taint of the affair.
Investigators are looking chiefly at whether funds paid to Hunter and Young — from outside political groups and Edwards’ political donors — should have been considered campaign donations since they arguably aided his presidential bid, according to several people involved in the case who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing probe. And they’re also looking closely at whether any entities linked to Edwards operated illegally.