Media Watch: The Sharyl Attkisson approach
NBC News is reporting today that charges against former North Carolina Senator and twice-failed candidate for president John Edwards may be filed soon:
WASHINGTON — A two-year grand jury investigation of John Edwards has reached a decisive point. Prosecutors believe they have a strong case, but have not yet gotten a green light from the Justice Department to charge the former presidential candidate, NBC News has learned. The issue: did Edwards violate election laws by trying to cover up his affair with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter.
Sources close to the investigation say Justice Department attorneys are now conducting a final review of evidence, and an indictment could come within days or weeks. In what could be an ominous development for Edwards, prosecutors already are making arrangements to record the sworn testimony of a key witness for possible use in a future trial, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It would be surprising now if he wasn’t indicted,” said Stephen Saltzburg, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University law professor. “If John Edwards was aware that money was being paid to hide his mistress… and it was done to help his campaign, then he’s in trouble.”
Edwards’ attorney, Wade Smith, recently said, “We do not believe there is evidence that John has violated any election laws.” John Edwards, 57, has repeatedly said that he did nothing wrong, and a spokesperson said he remains optimistic that the investigation will confirm that.
The National Journal has more:
The case focuses on money from two wealthy donors, who allegedly raised funds to keep Hunter quiet and to pay an aide named Andrew Young to falsely claim that he was the father of Edwards and Hunter’s love child. The donors — a 100-year-old woman named Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron, Edwards’s former finance chairman — are believed to have provided more than $1 million to keep the story under wraps. Baron, who died in 2008, claimed that Edwards knew nothing of this effort. Prosecutors are meeting with Mellon to record sworn testimony for a possible trial.
This isn’t the only pending case involving the disgraceful adulterer. From the Atlantic Wire:
Meanwhile, Hunter is suing Young and his wife for stealing a sex tape of the two, as well as a photo of the baby, and using them to gain publicity for his own projects. United Press International reported yesterday that Edwards had testified in this separate case and that though the details of what he said are unknown, his comments could be relevant to his potential indictment on the payoff matter.
I keep wishing John Edwards would just drop out of the spotlight, but at the same time, I hope he gets what’s coming to him. That’s the least that can happen to one of the phoniest politicos in modern political history.
Just my .02, of course.