Former Sen. John Edwards made his first appearance before reporters on Wednesday after being indicted on charges of conspiracy and illegal campaign contributions during his 2008 presidential bid.
He stepped up to a makeshift podium outside a Raleigh, Federal Courthouse after appearing inside to be formally charged where pleaded not guilty to 1 count of conspiracy and several counts of illegal campaign contributions.
The judge in the case required him to turn in his passport, according to CNN. He was then released on his own recognizance.
Before leaving, he approached reporters dressed in a dark suit and tie. His adult daughter Cate Edwards appeared in the background where he issued a brief statement without taking questions.
There's no question that I've done wrong and I take full responsibility for having done wrong and I will regret hard for the rest of my life the pain I've done to others but i did not break the law and never ever thought I could break the law. Thank you very much.
After giving the statement he left the podium and walked toward a waiting vehicle as a mass of members of the media surrounded him. He then stepped into a car and drove away.
Ahead of the court date, CNN cameras captured Edwards smiling as he was walking in.
Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday in Raleigh for allegedly illegally accepting $1 million in 2008 presidential campaign funds to hide an extra-marital affair.
The six-count indictment comes at the end of a two-year investigation and shows how far Edwards has fallen since his run for office. Prosecutors have also issued a warrant for his arrest.
If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy charge. Illegal campaign contribution violations carry a similar fine and fine.
He is alleged to have received more than the federal campaign contribution limits and the attempted to cover it up by having his Presidential Committee create and file false reports with the Federal Election Committee.
The purpose of the conspiracy was to conceal Edwards' extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter and her pregnancy with his child.
Edwards knew that the public revelation would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy, the indictment stated.
Edwards rejected a plea deal that would have stripped him of his license to practice law.