Report: John Edwards set to be indicted

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, seen leaving leaves funeral services for wife Elizabeth Edwards on Dec. 11, 2010, in Raleigh, N.C., admitted to fathering a child with a staffer while he was campaigning for president. The affair was made all the more tawdry because of his initial denials and the fact that Elizabeth was battling cancer at the time. Getty Images

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, seen leaving leaves funeral services for wife Elizabeth Edwards on Dec. 11, 2010, in Raleigh, N.C., admitted to fathering a child with a staffer while he was campaigning for president. The affair was made all the more tawdry because of his initial denials and the fact that Elizabeth was battling cancer at the time.
Getty Images

Updated: 12:03 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is set to indict former presidential candidate John Edwards on charges that he violated campaign finance laws trying to cover up an extramarital affair during the last presidential campaign, according to multiple reports.

A source close to the investigation told ABC News that Edwards is aware of the Justice Department's plans and could try to arrange a plea deal to avoid a trial.

The probe into Edwards' conduct has been ongoing for two years, and according to the Associated Press, the investigation covered his days in the Senate as well as on the presidential campaign trail.

The focal point of the investigation, however, has been the Edwards' campaign's alleged attempts to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter, a woman who was initially hired to produce promotional videos for the campaign, and with whom he ultimately had a child.

The probe focuses on two wealthy donors, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron, who the government alleges donated more than $1 million in funds to aid the cover-up of the affair. The government will argue that amounted to illegal campaign contributions.

According to WRAL, questions exist regarding millions of dollars' worth of donations from Mellon toward a nonprofit called The Alliance for a New America, which supported Edwards' campaign. Some of those funds apparently went toward fees to a consultancy agency that no longer exists.

Before his death from cancer in 2008, Baron admitted to providing support to Hunter and Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide who initially claimed paternity of Hunter's child, but denied that Edwards knew of the arrangement. But while Young told WRAL in a 2010 interview that Mellon was unaware of how her contributions were being used, he alleges that Edwards was involved in the attempted cover-up.

Edward's attorneys have said they are confident the former presidential nominee did not violate campaign finance laws, although the former senator has not publicly commented on the latest developments.

Edwards' estranged wife, Elizabeth, died from breast cancer last year.

  • CBS News Staff

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