Monday, June 6, 2011

Intriguing cast behind John Edwards drama

By Holly Bailey

Last week, John Edwards was indicted on criminal charges that he broke the law in trying to cover up an affair with a former aide to his 2008 Democratic presidential campaign.
As The Ticket reported this morning, Edwards refused a plea deal would have required him to serve as much as six months in jail. But as the case heads to trial, here's a quick guide to the other pivotal figures in the scandal.
Rielle Hunter:  A former campaign videographer, Hunter had an affair with Edwards during his '08 presidential run and later gave birth to their now 3-year-old daughter, Frances Quinn. Hunter lives in Charlotte with her daughter in a home reportedly purchased for her by Edwards, though she denied that in an interview with GQ last year.
The efforts to hide the affair and Hunter's pregnancy are at the center of the charges against Edwards, but that's not the only litigation in the case. Last year, Hunter sued Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide who initially pretended to be the father of her child, for invasion of privacy after he told reporters about a sex tape he'd found in his home reportedly starring Hunter and Edwards.
Edwards denied reports earlier this year that he'd proposed to Hunter after the death of his estranged wife, Elizabeth. But it's unclear exactly what their relationship is. A spokeswoman for Hunter told NBC News that Hunter and Edwards are raising their daughter together and see each other often, but the Edwards camp said the former candidate sees his daughter, playing down his dealings with Hunter.
Andrew Young: A former personal aide to Edwards, Young is the government's top witness against the former Democratic presidential candidate and provided the first testimony about the contributions at the center of Edwards indictment. He initially pretended to be the father of Hunter's child—at Edwards' request, he claims—and later wrote a tell-all book about his former boss, which has been optioned by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.
Rachel "Bunny" Mellon:  Identified in the indictment as "Person C," Mellon is a 100-year-old reclusive billionaire banking heiress who allegedly gave Edwards $725,000, which went toward the effort to cover up the affair. Mellon has been largely in seclusion since the death of her husband, Paul, scion of the Mellon banking family. In her earlier life, she socialized with the rich and famous, including former First Lady Jackie Kennedy. Mellon's attorneys have said she had no idea where the money she gave Edwards was going.
Fred Baron: A prominent Dallas trial attorney, Baron was one of Edwards' biggest political supporters and allegedly aided the affair cover-up until he died of cancer in October 2008. Identified as "Person D" in the indictment, Baron gave Edwards in excess of $200,000, prosecutors allege, in order to hide the affair and Hunter's pregnancy. The indictment alleges that some of that money went toward renting a California mansion for Hunter and Young while they were on the run from the press.
Cate, Emma Claire and Jack Edwards: Cate Edwards, 29, accompanied her father to court last week—though she had previously admitted in an interview with People Magazine that her life had been "savaged" by her father's cheating and that their relationship was tense.
But the major focus is what could happen to her siblings—Emma Claire, 12, and Jack, 10—should their father go to jail. Before her death, Elizabeth Edwards denied reports she was looking to award custody of her youngest kids to Cate—and indeed, they have been living with their father since her death in December. But presumably, Cate would fill in as their guardian, with help from Edwards' parents, if the former presidential candidate ends up serving time.
Greg Craig: A former White House counsel for President Obama, and lead lawyer for former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial, Craig joined Edwards' legal team in March as the Justice Department began to wrap up its case into the former Democratic presidential hopeful.
(Photo of Hunter: Mark Seliger/GQ via AP; Young: Sara D. Davis/AP; Bunny Mellon: AP; Fred Baron via Baron and Budd; Greg Craig: Gerry Broome/AP; Emma Claire, Jack and Cate Edwards: Robert Willett/Getty Images)

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