A two-year grand jury investigation of John Edwards has reached a decisive point. Prosecutors believe they have a strong case, but have not yet gotten a green light from the Justice Department to charge the former presidential candidate, NBC News has learned. The issue: did Edwards violate election laws by trying to cover up his affair with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter.Of course those defending Edwards will play the dead wife card in a bid for sympathy. Well, he should have thought about his kids while he was cheating on his wife.
Sources close to the investigation say Justice Department attorneys are now conducting a final review of evidence, and an indictment could come within days or weeks. In what could be an ominous development for Edwards, prosecutors already are making arrangements to record the sworn testimony of a key witness for possible use in a future trial, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It would be surprising now if he wasn’t indicted,” said Stephen Saltzburg, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University law professor. “If John Edwards was aware that money was being paid to hide his mistress... and it was done to help his campaign, then he’s in trouble.”
Edwards’ friends in North Carolina say the timing could not be worse as “John has moved back into the family home so that he can take care of his children.”
“John is working everyday to be a good father and this is an inopportune time for this to occur, less than two months after the death of his children’s mother,” said a source close to the family. Edwards has 3 children: Cate, 28, Emma Claire, 12, and Jack, 10.