Sure, there are still a few counties where adultery is a “crime” in a real way, but it’s been a long time since somebody faced serious criminal charges because he stepped out on his wife.

Even if he stepped out on his dying wife who was stricken cancer in a publicly humiliating way while at the same time running for the presidency.

But it looks like the Department of Justice is about to really put the screws to former vice presidential candidate John Edwards. Of course, they can’t go after him for his gross affair outright. But Edwards’s alleged campaign finance shenanigans might get him in serious trouble…

Edwards’s troubles arise out of allegations that he misappropriated campaign funds to his mistress and videographer, Rielle Hunter.

The New York Times reports that Edwards had been trying to work out a last-minute deal with the DOJ to avoid criminal charges. But according to the Times, those efforts have failed:

“D.O.J. has made its decision to move forward with charges,” the person told The New York Times in an e-mail. “This phase of the case is moving rapidly toward conclusion,” the person added, but did not clarify whether this meant that an indictment was coming or that a plea bargain was in the works.

The WSJ Law Blog says that the key issue is what the Hunter money was intended for:

More than $1 million was allegedly paid to the mistress and to an Edwards aide who Edwards initially said was the child’s father. The money was allegedly aimed at keeping the affair quiet and avoiding problems for Edwards’ 2008 campaign.

A key question driving the probe is whether the money is deemed to have served a campaign purpose, people familiar with the investigation said.

Isn’t keeping the mistress quiet a pretty freaking huge “campaign purpose”? Can you imagine “Mr. Edwards, you can either have $1 million for a direct mail campaign, or we can try to pay off this woman you keep schtupping even though your wife is still alive. What do you think would be better for your campaign??”

You have to wonder if Edwards will plead this out. He is, or at least was, an excellent lawyer. Maybe he thinks his lawyering skills will save him this one last time?

Edwards to Face Criminal Charges [New York Times]
Edwards Lawyers in Talks With U.S. Seeking To Avert Felony Charges [WSJ Law Blog]


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