Feds probing Edwards affair

May 7, 2009 1:27:43 PM PDT
The Edwards house in Orange County is a house divided - divided by infidelity, and former presidential candidate John Edwards acknowledges federal investigators are now probing his affair with Rielle Hunter. Frank Perry spent 22 years with the FBI and is familiar with political corruption cases. He's now retired and works for a non-profit in downtown Raleigh called - the Foundation for Ethics in Public Service.

While the feds are not commenting on the investigation, Perry explained to Eyewitness News how the case will proceed.

"It is the FBI that makes a determination of that allegation, to see if it's credible, specific and coherent enough to proceed," he said. "I think many people wrongly believe US attorneys generate public corruption cases, but the initiation, the vetting, the working of the case, the FBI is driving that train and it's done with a true abundance of caution, fairness, and you want to be as firm and fast as you are fair."

In 2006 and 2007, Edwards' political action committee paid Hunter $114,000 to produce videos of Edwards. Federal investigators are trying to figure out if those payments violated federal law.

Edwards has said publically that he expects to be exonerated.

"I am confident that no funds from my campaign were used improperly," he told an interviewer. "However, I know that it is the role of government to ensure that this is true. We have made available to the United States both the people and the information necessary to help them get the issue resolved efficiently and in a timely matter."

But Perry says these kinds of cases can drag on for years.

"It can take some time to build a case," he said. "And [they] can take a lot of effort and can be extremely time consuming with respect to going through the financial records and following that money."

While it appears the investigation is being conducted in Raleigh, Perry says political corruption cases have a lot of oversight - from both FBI headquarters in Washington and the Justice Department in Washington.


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