NEW YORK (CBS/AP) John Edwards' political career began with a bang. He was good-looking, intelligent and likeable; but things fell apart. His presidential campaign tumbled and it was later revealed that while his wife was battling breast cancer Edwards was gallivanting around with a videographer who was connected to his 2008 run for the presidency.
Now Edwards is back in the media, but for all the wrong reasons.
A federal grand jury in Raleigh, N.C. is looking into whether Edwards' alleged attempts to cover up his affair with campaign worker Rielle Hunter resulted in a campaign finance violation. Meanwhile, a new book proposal by a former aide alleges the once squeaky clean candidate tried to falsify a paternity test and pushed wealthy donors to help silence his mistress.
Hunter was a videographer during Edwards' failed 2008 campaign. Their admitted affair occurred while Edwards' wife very publicly battled breast cancer, a condition doctors say is terminal.
A book proposal by Andrew Young, the man who once claimed to be the father of Hunter's daughter, states that not only did Edwards know he was the father, but he also went to great lengths to cover up the affair, according to an article in the New York Times.
Young was once a close aide to Edwards, and signed an affidavit stating he was the father of Hunter's child. He has since renounced that statement, and according to the Times, he had only signed the affidavit at the request of a desperate Edwards.
According to the Times, Young's book proposal includes an especially damning revelation: Edwards asked one of his wealthy benefactors, who has since passed away, if he could help Edwards find a doctor who would falsify a paternity test.
The grand jury investigation is looking into a nuanced legal issue, that is, whether Edwards should have reported the money and gifts his campaign allegedly used to silence his mistress.
Edwards has said the affair with Hunter ended in 2006. That year, Edwards' political action committee paid Hunter's video production firm $100,000 for work. Then the committee paid another $14,086 on April 1, 2007.
The Edwards camp has said the latter payment from the PAC was exchanged for 100 hours of unused videotape Hunter shot.
The same day, the Edwards presidential campaign had injected $14,034.61 into the PAC for a "furniture purchase," according to federal election records.
Edwards also pushed two wealthy donors to finance a new BMW and housing for Hunter to keep her out of the spotlight while Edwards was running for president and subsequently vying for an Obama administration position, according to allegations in the book proposal.
Joyce Fitzpatrick, a spokeswoman for Edwards and his attorney, Wade Smith, said that Edwards would not comment Saturday. Smith has said Edwards may make a statement at some point in the future about the paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter, who is 19-months old, but there was no timetable for that.
Michael Critchley, Hunter's attorney, declined to comment Saturday. A lawyer for Young did not immediately return messages left at his office Saturday.