John Edwards' mistress, eldest daughter, and staffers from his 2008 presidential campaign will be called to court as witnesses in the disgraced ex-presidential candidate's criminal trial, according to The Associated Press.
Rielle Hunter, Cate Edwards and former campaign aides are all on the potential witness list released late Thursday as jury selection just kicked off. Opening arguments will begin at the Greensboro, North Carolina, courthouse on April 23.
Hunter is the former campaign filmmaker who is at the center of the scandal after Edwards fathered a child with her. Also on the list is campaign aide Andrew Young, who hid Hunter and lied by saying her child was his, to protect Edwards.
The court will decide whether or not Edwards, a 58-year-old Democrat from North Carolina, should face jail time or additional fees for using nearly $1 million in secret payments from two campaign donors in an effort to hide his affair and love child during the 2008 campaign.
Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if he is found to have violated campaign law.
The two campaign donors who gave the secret payments to Edwards, Fred Baron and Rachel Bunny Mellon, have representatives on the witness list but can't make it to South Carolina themselves. Baron, a Texas lawyer, died in 2008. His widow Lisa Blue is on the witness list.
Mellon, the other donor implicated in the case, is too frail to travel and will be represented by her longtime lawyer Alex Forger. Mellon, an heiress and socialite, is 101 years old.
District Judge Catherine Eagles told 180 potential jurors on Thursday that they should focus on the criminal charges in the case and avoid making judgments on what kind of husband Edwards was.
This is not a case about whether Mr. Edwards was a good husband or politician, Eagles said, according to Politico. It's about whether he violated campaign finance laws. ... The Constitution says trial by jury, not trial by Internet or trial by gossip.
Although Edwards said last October he is looking forward to having his day in court, some have questioned whether a trial is even necessary. On MSNBC's Morning Joe Friday morning, host Joe Scarborough said the whole ordeal was a waste of resources.
Is there anybody who disagrees with me that John Edwards' family has suffered enough and that this is a waste of precious resources by the Justice department? Scarborough said. They should slap [Edwards] on the wrist, plea out a deal, and send him home to be with his daughter - his older daughter and two young children who lost a mom.
Edwards admitted to the affair in August 2008, after the National Enquirer broke the story, and then acknowledged he was the father of Hunter's child in 2010. Edwards was cheating on his wife, Elizabeth, while she suffered from the breast cancer that eventually led to her death in December, 2010.