Saturday, June 4, 2011

Edwards: lifelong regret my infidelity, but I have not broken the law

Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards denied having used money from his campaign for the White House in 2008 to conceal an extramarital affair and pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and accepting illegal contributions. "I accept full responsibility for wrongdoing and regret the rest of my life, but broke the law and never thought I was breaking the law," Edwards said nothing Friday to plead not guilty in a court of North Carolina.

In total, the former senator from that state and a former candidate for vice president with presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004, faces six charges for "allegedly participated in a scheme to violate campaign finance laws federal" in 2008, said Assistant Attorney General, Lanny Breuer.

"Edwards is accused of accepting more than $ 900,000 in an attempt to hide the facts that he thought public opinion would hurt his candidacy," he said in a statement the Department of Justice. Edwards, 58, was one of the contenders for the Democratic nomination for the White House in 2008 which eventually became the current president Barack Obama.

Just after leaving the presidential race, former North Carolina senator had to admit he had a relationship with his former employee, Rielle Hunter, with whom he also had a daughter whose paternity is finally accepted at the beginning of last year. The extramarital affair took place while his wife, Elisabeth, fighting a cancer that finally died in December last year.

The Justice Department has spent nearly three years investigating Edwards, whose adventure ended with a promising political career. According to the indictment, as a candidate Edwards "conspired with other individuals to accept and receive campaign contributions that exceed the limits imposed by the Federal Electoral Law, in an attempt to protect his candidacy from the revelation of an extramarital affair and pregnancy resulting.

" According to the Department of Justice, Edwards accepted for this purpose more than $ 900,000 between 2007 and 2008. Each of the six charges filed today against a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a fine of $ 250,000. His lawyer, Gregory Craig, described the prosecution as an "unprecedented" and said his team will prepare a "vigorous defense." "Nobody knew, or should have known or should have been expected even to know that these payments would be treated or could have been considered as campaign contributions.

And in no way Senator Edwards knew that," he said in a statement to the press.

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