Debate continues in John Edwards case

The News & ObserverOctober 13, 2011 

CHAPEL HILL -- Nearly two weeks before a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments about whether criminal charges against John Edwards should be dismissed before trial, attorneys for the former presidential candidate responded to a push from prosecutors to keep the case alive.

In dozens of pages filed in federal court this week, defense attorneys contend that what prosecutors have accused the former senator of is not illegal.

The case is expected to test the sweep of federal campaign finance laws.

"John Edwards' motion to dismiss this Indictment is based on a simple argument: even if every fact alleged in the Indictment were true, the acts described do not constitute an election law violation," his attorneys contend in the documents filed this week.

Edwards, a Democrat, is accused of breaking elections laws by secretly obtaining contributions from two wealthy supporters to hide his pregnant mistress from the public during his 2008 presidential run.

The payments covered living, medical and other expenses for Rielle Hunter, a videographer with whom Edwards had an extramarital affair and a child. Prosecutors argue the donations exceeded legal limits and were campaign contributions because they were meant to be used to hide the affair so Edwards could keep his presidential bid alive.

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