Home > african american politics, black lawyers, black new, Black Politics > Former Presidential Candidate John Edwards Indicted: A Long, Ugly Fall

Former Presidential Candidate John Edwards Indicted: A Long, Ugly Fall

    Elliot Millner, J.D.

Two-time former presidential candidate John Edwards has been indicted on six federal charges of conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions(4 counts), and making false statements. The charges relate to his affair with former campaign videographer Reille Hunter and the child that was produced from that affair. Edwards allegedly used payments from various sources to conspire to keep the child he had with Hunter a secret during his second run for president, including relocating Hunter and the child during the 2008 election in order to avoid detection by the media.

Although nothing should be surprising when it comes to politics and politicians, this situation is particularly disturbing and despicable. Of course we know that legally-speaking a person is innocent until proven guilty, but the majority of the dirtiest parts of this case are public record and have been (reluctantly) admitted to by Edwards himself. He admitted that he had an affair with Hunter, and that he got her pregnant. He also eventually admitted to publicly denying he was the father for an extended period of time, to protect his image and aspirations. He also allegedly had former campaign staffer Andrew Young claim to be the father of the child, to deflect suspicion from himself. Oh, and all of this was taking place while his wife Elizabeth Edwards was battling cancer, a battle she unfortunately lost last year.

Aside from the ugliness relating to the affair and child, the other aspect of this that is unfortunate is that from a political perspective, John Edwards likely would have been a powerful force within the Democratic Party, whether as president or in some other capacity. He was easily the more natural Progressive than current President Obama, who was always more of a moderate (despite what the Tea Partiers and Fox News would like you to believe). Edwards focused on issues relating to poverty and criminal justice far more than any of the other well-known Democratic candidates during both of his runs for president.

Now, regardless of what comes of the impending trial, his political career is over. Although he would have lost a lot even if he had been truthful about the affair and child from the beginning, he would not likely be facing serious felony charges, and the damage to his image and reputation may have been repairable. In politics people tend to have short-term memories bordering on amnesia. There are plenty of current well-known politicians who have had affairs, children out-of-wedlock, solicited prostitutes,etc. Edwards hurt himself most by attempting to cover-up the truth, which we have learned can be viewed worse than the actual wrongdoing. Hopefully he has learned some lesson from all of this, and(regardless of the trial outcome) will move on in a more honest, productive manner.


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  1. June 3, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Many of us if not all have engaged is some wrongdoing during the course of our lives and the reality is that when we do, we must speak truth to that wrongdoing. My mother taught me that as a very young tyke, she said if you do something wrong, do not lie about it, admit it, accept your consequences and move on. I have held that nugget close to my heart now and forever. The sad part is when one is set up and they are really telling the truth. Yes, perhaps if Edwards would have admitted his affair up front, he may have lost the Presidency but not his soul to criminal charges. Some of us allow indiscretions to make us lie, not realizing there are consequences for all our wrongdoings. This is a sad truth. I mean wasn’t he rich enough to use his own funds vice donated campaign funds from those who supported him. I wonder if Arnold did the same thing? Well it seems like some of the rich finally does get their comeuppance that the poor and working class is use to. Sad all the way around and lessons for many if not all of us to learn.

  2. Kathy
    June 6, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Edwards is the epitome of “the Politician”, he just got caught. Sleezy, underhanded, no good, coniving, uncaring, adultrous human beings. Did I mention lyeing. Can’t forget that number one description. He deserves whatever he gets. They are coming more and more less attractive as time goes by. Each year we have less and less to pick from. The people should run the country by votes around every issue. Simple as that.

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