Edwards hires new lawyer

Former presidential candidate John Edwards makes a statement to the media following a federal court appearance in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, June 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
August 20, 2011 9:49:52 AM PDT
Former presidential candidate John Edwards has hired a new Washington attorney to defend him against conspiracy and campaign finance charges.

Abbe Lowell is perhaps best known for defending President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial. Attorney Greg Craig is now off the case.

A federal grand jury indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards in June over $925,000 spent to keep his mistress and their baby in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House.

The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions, and one count of false statements.

The indictment said the payments were a scheme to protect Edwards' White House ambitions.

Edwards and Rielle Hunter began their relationship in 2006, just as the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee was plotting a second run for the White House. She was hired to shoot behind-the-scenes video footage of the prospective candidate. Edwards' political action committee and a nonprofit affiliated with him both paid Hunter's video-production firm about $100,000 for the work.

Edwards initially denied having an affair with Hunter but eventually admitted to it in the summer of 2008. He then denied being the father of her child before finally confessing last year. His wife, Elizabeth, died of cancer in December.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Leaving a Winston-Salem courthouse in June, he said, ”There's no question that I've done wrong, and I take full responsibility for having done wrong. And I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I have caused to others, but I did not break the law and I never, ever thought that I was breaking the law."

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