Jury selection begins in John Edwards' trial

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards is accused of using campaign money to support his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

Story highlights

  • If convicted on all counts, John Edwards could face 30 years in prison
  • Edwards' upcoming criminal trial will look at whether campaign money went to Rielle Hunter
  • Hunter, Edwards' former mistress, was hired to make documentary videos for 2008 campaign
  • Edwards denies any wrongdoing

Jury selection begins Thursday in a Greensboro, North Carolina, federal courtroom in the trial of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Edwards is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to the money dealings of his failed 2008 presidential campaign.

Rielle Hunter, Edwards' former mistress, is expected to testify at the trial. A major issue in the approaching trial is whether money given to support Hunter, by the former candidate's benefactors, should have been considered donations toward his presidential campaign. Edwards denies any wrongdoing, claiming the money was a gift.

Edwards is accused of conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws. If convicted on all counts, Edwards could face 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.

Edwards' attorneys have claimed the investigation and prosecution are politically motivated, and the charges do not clearly establish any violation of election law.

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Edwards was Sen. John Kerry's running mate on the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket. His wife, Elizabeth, died of cancer in December 2010.

Elizabeth and John Edwards separated that year, shortly after he admitted that he had fathered a daughter with Hunter, who was hired to make documentary videos for his 2008 campaign.