Former presidential candidate John Edwards will face criminal charges for allegedly misusing campaign funds to cover up an affair with his mistress, according to a published report on Wednesday.
The New York Times said a person close to Edwards confirmed the pending charges, following a similar report on ABC News Tuesday night.
“DOJ (Department of Justice) has made its decision to move forward with charges,” the person told The Times in an email. “This phase of the case is moving rapidly toward conclusion.”
The Times was a bit puzzled by that last line, unsure if it meant an indictment was imminent or that the entire case is nearing a "conclusion" with a plea bargain deal.
A plea deal would likely result in Edwards admitting wrongdoing and surrendering his license to practice law. But it would be better than an embarrassing trial, The Times writes:
A public trial could also prove awkward for Mr. Edwards because Rielle Hunter, his mistress and one-time campaign videographer, has been shopping a book to publishers, two publishing executives told The New York Times on Wednesday. It is not clear whether anyone has agreed yet to publish it, but conceivably, Mr. Edwards could be denying charges during a trial while Ms. Hunter’s book could be asserting the opposite.
Investigators are trying to determine if Edwards used some $1 million in contributions to his failed 2008 presidential campaign to support and "essentially hide" Hunter and their illegitimate daughter. Edwards initially denied fathering the child, then admitted it. It caused his marriage to fall apart. His wife Elizabeth eventually succumbed to breast cancer last December.