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April 23, 2012

How Edwards Might Be Convicted

With John Edwards finally facing a criminal trial over alleged campaign finance violations, Walter Shapiro raises the strong possibility that philanthropist and Edwards donor Bunny Mellon didn't even know about mistress Rielle Hunter.

"Up to now, the pre-trial coverage has assumed that Mellon, like Baron, was intent on helping Edwards cover up his philandering. But the trial will raise the strong possibility -- and you will have to trust me on the sourcing for this -- that the then-97-year-old socialite was as ignorant of the existence of Rielle Hunter (or any other Other Woman) as any Democratic voter besotted with John Edwards. When she was asked for the money, delivered in seven installments beginning in June 2007, she apparently thought that she was donating in some round-robin fashion to the Edwards campaign, not covering up an affair."

"If Bunny Mellon did not know about the affair, how could her contributions be personal rather than political?"

Rick Hasen: "But I don't think that's the right question.  Let's suppose Mellon did not know.  Even if Mellon intended the money to help Edwards' campaign, it is Edwards intent that matters here."


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