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Source: John Edwards could be indicted within days

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have completed a
wide-ranging investigation into John Edwards' political dealings
and could indict the two-time presidential candidate within days, a
person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.
Edwards could still strike a plea deal to avoid an indictment,
said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
case's sensitivity.
Federal investigators have been probing Edwards for two more
than years. Their interest has spanned much of Edwards' political
career, looking into issues such as whether he did anything
improper during his time in the U.S. Senate. And it looked into a
network of organizations connected to Edwards, including a
nonprofit, political action committees and a so-called 527
political group.
Much of the investigation, however, focused on money that
eventually went to keep mistress Rielle Hunter in hiding along with
former campaign aide Andrew Young, who claimed paternity of
Hunter's child in 2007 so that Edwards could continue his White
House campaign without the affair tarnishing his reputation.
Investigators have been looking at whether those funds should have
been considered campaign donations since they arguably aided his
presidential bid.
Justice Department officials in Washington had been reviewing
the case in recent weeks.
The U.S. attorney in Raleigh declined to comment Wednesday. An
Edwards spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking
comment, though his attorneys have said they are confident the
former North Carolina senator did not violate campaign finance
laws.
Young has said that Edwards agreed in the middle of 2007 to
solicit money directly from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, the
100-year-old widow of banking heir Paul Mellon. Young has said he
received hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks from Mellon,
some of them hidden in boxes of chocolate.
Mellon's attorney has said she didn't know where the money was
going but intended it as a personal gift.
Investigators also looked at money spent by Edwards' former
campaign finance chairman, Fred Baron, who died in 2008. He
previously said he helped Young and Hunter move across the country.
Baron said that Edwards wasn't aware of the aid, but Young said in
a book that Edwards was aware of Baron's money.
Hunter was hired in 2006 to shoot video of Edwards as he
prepared for his second White House bid. Records show her video
production firm earned about $100,000. An attorney for Edwards has
said one of his nonprofits, the Center for Promise and Opportunity,
shared the costs of the video work and paid a similar amount.
Edwards initially denied having an affair with Hunter but
eventually admitted to it in the summer of 2008, several months
after he had dropped out of the presidential race. He continued to
deny fathering a child with Hunter until last year. His wife,
Elizabeth, died of cancer in December.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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