As reported in the Washington Post, former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards announced yesterday in court that he would hire the same attorneys who represented his mistress, Rielle Hunter, in a lawsuit over a sex tape featuring Edwards and Hunter, to defend him against Federal charges. Edwards is charged in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina with violating campaign finance laws by using $1 million from two wealthy donors, including 101 year-old Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, to conceal his affair with Hunter and her pregnancy during his presidential campaign in 2008. The attorneys, Alan Duncan and Allison Van Laningham, will replace Edwards’ current defense team. The attorneys represented Hunter in her civil lawsuit against former Edwards aide Andrew Young. The suit was settled last month with an agreement that all copies of the sex tape would be destroyed.
Edwards has pled not guilty. His trial is set to commence on April 12. Hunter is expected to be called as a witness by the prosecution, after having been granted immunity and testifying before the grand jury in 2009. Hunter has signed a waiver, waiving any conflict in the attorneys’ representation of herself and Edwards. Any cross-examination of Hunter will be handled by other counsel for Edwards. The Judge noted that Edwards’ retention of the attorneys would minimize the possibility that his relationship with Hunter would be discussed in front of the jury.
Edwards has had many attorneys come and go from his defense team, including former White House Counsel Gregory Craig.