Ex-White House hopeful Edwards may be charged: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former presidential candidate John Edwards could be charged as early as on Friday in a investigation into alleged campaign finance law violations to hide an extramarital affair, a legal source familiar with the matter said.

Edwards, 57, a former senator from North Carolina, a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004 and 2008, and John Kerry’s vice presidential running-mate in 2004, has been under investigation for more than two years.

Much of the investigation has centered on whether Edwards illegally spent campaign contributions to hide his affair with one-time campaign videographer Rielle Hunter and whether more than $1 million from supporters to keep her hidden amounted to illegal campaign contributions, people familiar with the case have said.

Edwards eventually admitted to the affair and that he fathered a child with Hunter. He and his wife Elizabeth separated, and she died of cancer last year.

The source, who refused to be identified because the case involved grand jury matters which are secret, declined to provide details on the expected charges.

Gregory Craig, an attorney for Edwards, last week denied that his client broke the law. A spokeswoman for the former lawmaker in North Carolina, Joyce Fitzpatrick, was not immediately available for comment.

Any charges would be brought in federal court in North Carolina, where a federal grand jury has been weighing whether to indict Edwards.

A spokeswoman for Attorney George Holding in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman in Washington, D.C., declined comment on the case.

The charges would mark the latest fall from grace by Edwards, who failed to win much support during his two presidential bids. He was picked by presidential candidate Kerry as his running mate in 2004, but they lost.