Rielle Hunter in Court Amid Campaign Probe. Is This Bad News for John Edwards?


John Edwards can't be happy to see this: Rielle Hunter, Edwards’s former mistress, showed up this morning at the federal courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., where a grand jury is reportedly probing whether the Democratic presidential hopeful misused his campaign funds. As your Gaggler reported earlier this year, the Feds are looking into payments Edwards’s political action committee paid Hunter, who briefly worked as a videographer for the campaign. According to campaign finance records, Edwards’s PAC paid a firm affiliated with Hunter more than $100,000 for making a few short films. But as The Charlotte Observer has reported, the probe is also looking into the finances of several previously unknown nonprofit groups with ties to Edwards who reportedly failed to disclose their fundraising. Edwards has denied any wrongdoing.

With some exceptions, grand jury proceedings are largely kept under wraps. But a big question has to be whether the probe will look into some of the more salacious aspects of Edwards’s troubles. This morning, Hunter slipped in through the courthouse’s back door carrying her 18-month old daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, whom many have speculated is Edwards’s child. Edwards, who at first denied but later confessed to having an affair with Hunter in the run-up to the 2008 campaign, has denied paternity. Andrew Young, a former aide to Edwards, initially said he was the father, but is now shopping a book proposal that says he lied for his boss. Elizabeth Edwards, the former candidate’s wife, told Oprah Winfrey earlier this year that she has "no idea" if the child is her husband’s. For her part, Hunter has never discussed the issue publicly and left the father’s name on her daughter’s birth certificate blank. Is this something the grand jury will ask about?

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