Edwards Indicted

On multiple charges:

ABC11 has learned that a federal grand jury has indicted former North Carolina senator and presidential candidate John Edwards.

The case of United States of America v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.

Combine the naked ambition of Edwards with his caddy ways, and a society that is really kind of crazy about sex, and you get this. His wife and kids deserved better.






132 replies
  1. 1
    eemom says:

    this is gonna be a fun thread.

  2. 2
    dpcap says:

    I voted for the other guy.

  3. 3
    Bud says:

    This whole sorry saga has made me feel a bit less disgust with Bush voters for not seeing his phoniness from the very beginning.

    I thought Edwards was the real deal and assumed the attacks on him were the standard GOP character assassination that they love.

    Sarah Palin is another story. Any person with common sense should be able to put the pieces together and spot the fraud.

  4. 4

    This bit is interesting, though (from TPM):

    The government’s case centers on somewhat of an untested legal theory: that the Edwards campaign centered on his image as a family man, and that the North Carolina Democrat had to hide his affair to maintain that image.

  5. 5

    @Bud:

    I thought Edwards was the real deal and assumed the attacks on him were the standard GOP character assassination that they love.

    They were. Blind pig, acorn.

  6. 6
    lawguy says:

    Anybody want to bet what would (not) be happening if he was a republican?

  7. 7
    Oren says:

    @lawguy

    oooh, I know! I know this one!

  8. 8
    Zifnab says:

    Combine the naked ambition of Edwards with his caddy ways, and a society that is really kind of crazy about sex, and you get this.

    Don’t forget the (D) in front of his name. I fail to see how Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin haven’t been pulling the exact same shit for years.

  9. 9
    OzoneR says:

    @lawguy:

    Anybody want to bet what would (not) be happening if he was a republican?

    he’s find Jesus and forgiveness, blame the liberal media, who will back off, and we’d move on.

    duh

  10. 10
    Trentrunner says:

    I’m so glad this unelected official’s mistress payments are getting the 24/7 coverage.

    Wouldn’t want to have to do this for current officials’ monies coming from interested corporations to sway their votes.

    We wouldn’t want that, would we?

    But look over here, a dick! And it’s not where Jesus says its s’posed to be!

  11. 11
    EconWatcher says:

    I always thought the guy projected all the sincerity of a game-show host.

    But he was a lot worse than I thought. It takes a special guy to cheat on his spouse while she’s dying, while using his relationship to the dying woman to boost his political chances. But then again, this is the same guy who invoked his dead son in his closing arguments to juries, to get the damage awards up.

    He has the soul of a reptile.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    @Bud:

    I thought Edwards was the real deal and assumed the attacks on him were the standard GOP character assassination that they love.

    I thought he was phony from the very beginning. I even have a friend who worked with Edwards and his wife (worked more with her) and she thought they were the best. Despite my friend’s first person opinion, I still never could shake the feeling that something wasn’t right with him. Phony and smarmy, no matter what he said.

  13. 13
    cleek says:

    man, what a narcissistic tool.

    all that screwing around and he still thought running for Pres was a good idea ?

  14. 14
    OzoneR says:

    @EconWatcher:

    He has the soul of a reptile.

    but he said there were TWO AMERICAS!!!

  15. 15
    EconWatcher says:

    @Bud:

    By the way, as I’ve commented before, two out of our last three vice presidential nominees were John Edwards and Joe Lieberman.

    Think about that for a minute.

  16. 16
    shortstop says:

    uuuuuuuuck.

  17. 17
    artem1s says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    I’m kinda interested in what would be ‘normal’ penalty here. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a campaign/candidate having to do anything more than pay fines and return the donations for this type of thing. Is this really anymore inappropriate ‘personal’ use of funds or ‘false statements’ than the sham of a campaign by teh Donald? I’m not saying Edwards should be given a pass but this constant bullshit by celebrities fundraising and writing off of expenses that they would otherwise be personal travel and such has gotten ridiculous. Trump was conducting a PR and marketing tour for the Trump brand. He was never, ever going to run for Preznit. And neither was/is Fred Thompson or Caribou Barbie.

  18. 18
    Tsulagi says:

    His wife and kids deserved better.

    Yep.

  19. 19
    Nutella says:

    Good.

    Next indictment for conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions, and false statements: Ensign.

    Or maybe not, since his were Republican conspiracy, illegal campaign contributions, and false statements.

    ETA does anyone know if affidavits to the FEC are made under penalty of perjury? Because Ensign and his parents all lied about their payoffs in their FEC affidavits.

  20. 20
    moe99 says:

    2 U.S.C. § 431 (definitions) define a “contribution” to include gifts, and intent to influence an election is otherwise the test:

    (8) (A) The term “contribution” includes— (i) any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office; or (ii) the payment by any person of compensation for the personal services of another person which are rendered to a political committee without charge for any purpose.

    and § 439a (“use of contributed amounts for certain purposes”) says that, if he accepted the money – which I think would be easy to prove, even if he didn’t handle it himself – it cannot be used for personal purposes. The general “otherwise authorized expenditures” in (a)(1) can’t help in light of the specific prohibition in (b).

    (a) Permitted uses
    A contribution accepted by a candidate, and any other donation received by an individual as support for activities of the individual as a holder of Federal office, may be used by the candidate or individual—
    (1) for otherwise authorized expenditures in connection with the campaign for Federal office of the candidate or individual;
    (2) for ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in connection with duties of the individual as a holder of Federal office;
    (3) for contributions to an organization described in section 170 (c) of title 26;
    (4) for transfers, without limitation, to a national, State, or local committee of a political party;
    (5) for donations to State and local candidates subject to the provisions of State law; or
    (6) for any other lawful purpose unless prohibited by subsection (b) of this section.
    (b) Prohibited use
    (1) In general
    A contribution or donation described in subsection (a) of this section shall not be converted by any person to personal use …

  21. 21
    J. says:

    And, uh, how many of the bankers responsible for the housing and financial meltdown have been indicted?

    Not saying that Edwards is innocent, but don’t the courts have bigger cads to fry?

    And speaking of guys who should have kept it in their pants, if you haven’t seen this Taryn Southern video, titled “Keep It in Your Pants,” check it out. (Actually should be required viewing for male pols and athletes.)

  22. 22
    Rosalita says:

    @cleek: They begin to think they are omnipotent after a while… I heard something last night about how he asked Rielle to marry him — my guess is so she couldn’t testify against him? slimeball.

  23. 23
    Catsy says:

    @cleek: This.

    Cheating on his wife makes him a douchebag. Lying to cover it up makes him an asshole. But running for president anyway–when the alternative to him would be four more years of Republicans doing untold damage this country–makes him anathema.

    His wife, on the other hand, has been the picture of grace and decency throughout this. She really did deserve better than him. So did we, and thank goodness we got it.

    And it’s worth noting that no, Republicans were not right about him. They attacked him for all sorts of bullshit reasons, throwing the same mud that they throw at anyone with a D beside their name. Calling him a phony was just part of their attempt at neutralizing the very real appeal of his populist message and how bad it made them look, not a sincere position taken in good faith. If someone calls every black person they see a criminal, they don’t become right just because once in a while they say that to someone who actually has a criminal record.

  24. 24
    Martin says:

    This might be the administration’s solution to the Citizen’s United ruling. If they can’t regulate money going in, they can litigate money going out.

  25. 25
    Poopyman says:

    @EconWatcher:
    Cheney
    Cheney
    Danny Quayle
    GHW Bush
    Nelson Rockefeller
    Gerry Ford
    Spiro T. Agnew
    Richard M. Nixon

    Think about that for a while.

  26. 26
    And Another Thing… says:

    Artem1s at #17…
    to expand on your point – PACs have become tarted up slush funds. Imagine what Dick Nixon could have done with PACs.

  27. 27
    artem1s says:

    @OzoneR:

    whatever you might think of Edwards the guy/gal who wrote that speech was brilliant. When I read the transcripts it seemed like he was channeling RFK but when I actually heard Edwards on youtube it seemed forced and awkward. It was pretty clear to me then that he wasn’t the architect of the idea. Would love to know who was.

    And when he decided to run despite Elizabeth being sick. that was just icky and felt wrong from the beginning. Guess I gotta say I liked the guy when Kerry nominated him though he seemed pretty green. But over time there were just too many little things that just kept piling up. The addiction of the spotlight was not good for him or his soul.

  28. 28
    Bud says:

    @Catsy

    And it’s worth noting that no, Republicans were not right about him. They attacked him for all sorts of bullshit reasons, throwing the same mud that they throw at anyone with a D beside their name.

    While this is true, my point was that I feel more sympathy for Bush voters who see didn’t see his fakery right away. It proves that it’s impossible to know someone from television or running in a campaign. Of course, you know that already, but it’s easy to let your gaurd slip. Edwards was a valuable lesson for me.

  29. 29

    I like susie madrak’s take:

    No Wall Street executives indicted yet, by the way. No new JOBS.

    And nothing on global warming.

    Other than that, we’re cool!

  30. 30
    Bud says:

    @Catsy

    And it’s worth noting that no, Republicans were not right about him. They attacked him for all sorts of bullshit reasons, throwing the same mud that they throw at anyone with a D beside their name.

    While this is true, my point was that I feel more sympathy for Bush voters who see didn’t see his fakery right away. It proves that it’s impossible to know someone from television or running in a campaign. Of course, you know that already, but it’s easy to let your guard slip. Edwards was a valuable lesson for me.

  31. 31
    Scott P. says:

    But he was a lot worse than I thought. It takes a special guy to cheat on his spouse while she’s dying, while using his relationship to the dying woman to boost his political chances. But then again, this is the same guy who invoked his dead son in his closing arguments to juries, to get the damage awards up.

    I thought everyone wanted a more Machiavellian and ruthless President.

  32. 32
    Citizen Alan says:

    IIRC the federal rules of evidence do not recognize either spousal immunity or spousal privilege, so marrying the mistress doesn’t get Edwards anything except perhaps a less hostile witness for the feds.

  33. 33
    Paul Gottlieb says:

    What you also get is the Affordable Healthcare Act and a start to a decent healthcare system. Edwards make healthcare reform the cornerstone of his campaign and forced both Obama and Clinton to make a big public commitment to it as well

  34. 34
    Exurban Mom says:

    @cleek and @Catsy: YES.

    His family most definitely deserved better, but so did his supporters.

    People gave up their lives to support his presidential campaign. People sent him money to support that campaign, money that they might not have been able to spare. He abused that trust so completely, I can’t really muster any sympathy for him right now.

  35. 35
    ricky says:

    This is all designed to divert attention from the angst felt by the many among us who were deceived by Obama after
    flocking to him in the wake of Edwards’s failed effort to deceive more like us.

  36. 36
    boss bitch says:

    @J.:

    I’m pretty sure that’s a piss poor defense of NOT indicting John Edwards. I hope our legal system isn’t ignoring smaller crimes because other guys (who probably didn’t break any law because of deregulation)haven’t been indicted. And I would think it would be much easier to take down one person than an entire industry.

  37. 37
    ricky says:

    @Paul Gottlieb:

    Yeah, that Clinton lady was a Johnny come lately to the Health Care issue thing. Ask Vince Foster.

  38. 38
    EconWatcher says:

    @Poopyman:

    I agree, but we need to do better on our side. I don’t expect anything at all from them.

  39. 39
    SqueakyPants says:

    Excellent news for John McCain!

  40. 40
    Doug Harlan J says:

    If he diverted campaign funds to bribe Hunter, then throw that book at him. I gave him money, I didn’t want that used to bribe mistresses.

    Edwards supporters like me are the aggrieved party, we should want him nailed…if he really did this.

  41. 41
    aimai says:

    @Violet:

    I thought he was smarmy but I had a detestation for that kind of southern charm. I couldn’t bear to listen to Jimmy Carter, either, and he was actually a very good person. I supported Edwards–though he dropped out before my state’s primary–because I thought he was talking about politics and society in a way that meshed with my political goals. I switched to Obama and happilly supported him even though, contra my experience with Edwards, I thought Obama is the better man with less interest in pursuing the political goals I think are important. In politics you hardly ever get the choice of the greatest candidate committed to honestly pursuing the same political goals you have. Sometimes you get an honest guy who’s preetty good, sometimes you get a dishonest guy who would be totally great if he got in. I wasn’t planning to marry Edwards, just like I’m not planning to marry Obama, so their relationships to their wives really isn’t dispositive.

    But I feel sorry for Edwards as a person. I think he fucked up, and fucked over someone who was very important to him, his wife (and his kids) and now he has to endure this alone. Karmic justice, and if I were Elizabeth’s spirit/ghost I’d be laughing hysterically. But I’m betting that not a day has gone by since her death that he didn’t reflect, miserably, on what a shit he was to her.

    aimai

  42. 42
    bkny says:

    contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.

    wanna bet more doj staff were assigned to this investigation that any ongoing ‘investigation’ into the banksters… it’s sure as shit true for the infotainment industry. msnbc has apparently lost interest in anthony’s weiner (at least temporarily) and replaced it with this crap.

  43. 43
    bottyguy says:

    Since there wasn’t a plea deal before the indictment i suspect that this will all just be a costly circus show. It seems to me that the conspiracy and illegal campaign contribution cases will be very hard to prove and will never stand up to an appeal. The false statements depends on what was exactly said, I suspect even those will come down to the semantics.

  44. 44
    EconWatcher says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    DougJ, I remember way back when, you said that you liked your politicians to be a little bit sociopathic, because that may be what’s required to prevail in our modern environment.

    Well, here’s the upshot: You can’t trust them to direct their sociopathy twowards the enemy. They’ll turn back and bite you every time.

  45. 45
    gnomedad says:

    “Johnny”?

  46. 46
    cleek says:

    @ricky:
    yeah. damn those tricksy designers.

  47. 47
    Catsy says:

    @Bud:

    While this is true, my point was that I feel more sympathy for Bush voters who see didn’t see his fakery right away.

    I don’t. Edwards was fake for reasons that nobody could know, because they were secret. Some people were able to pick up on his sleaziness but didn’t have anything to go on but their gut feelings, his body language, or other similar cues. They weren’t wrong but it wasn’t anything that you could prove to someone else–you saw it or you didn’t.

    Bush’s fakery and perfidy was manifest from the beginning, in ways that were a matter of public record and empirically provable to anyone presented with the evidence. A capable businessman? He’d run multiple businesses into the ground. Folksy Texan? He was an Ivy League legacy admission from New England born into the Bush dynasty. “Compassionate” conservative? The man mocked the last words of a woman he had executed and signed more death warrants during his term as Governor than anyone else in the history of Texas.

    And the evidence only mounted as his term went on. It’s not as if there was a lack of hard, documented evidence. It’s not a matter of gut feelings or body language–the man was demonstrably an incompetent, ignorant, incurious, callous fool.

    Bush voters do not get a pass for being willfully blind to all of that. The evidence was there for anyone who wasn’t personally or politically invested in ignoring it.

  48. 48
    the fenian says:

    This story sucks in so many ways.

  49. 49

    @artem1s: I’ll be interested to see if John Ensign ever has to face similar music.

  50. 50
    Mary Jane says:

    @ricky: You poor thing. How blind of us to not recognize that your damaged fee-fees is the real story.

  51. 51
    gex says:

    Because he is not an R. Christine O’Donnell is laughing her ass off today thinking, if the guy had just changed his party affiliation, he’d be free and clear.

  52. 52
    kindness says:

    I’m also waiting to see how they treat Senator Ensign. If they don’t go after him similarly, it’s time for the torches & pitchforks.

  53. 53
    artem1s says:

    @Catsy:

    Bush voters do not get a pass for being willfully blind to all of that. The evidence was there for anyone who wasn’t personally or politically invested in ignoring it.

    also.too.let’s not forget the pack of wolves he was running with and what they blatantly and proudly stood for.

  54. 54
    ricky says:

    @cleek: It is the pesky diversionists who truly irk me, almost as much as those who blame the diverted. But I diverge.

  55. 55
    Catsy says:

    @kindness:

    I’m also waiting to see how they treat Senator Ensign. If they don’t go after him similarly, it’s time for the torches & pitchforks.

    Yeah. If anything, Ensign’s case is far more cut-and-dried than that of Edwards.

    I’m all good with taking both of them down, but if this becomes yet another case of IOKIYAR, there’s going to be some hell to pay.

  56. 56
    Fred says:

    But Newt serving divorce papers to his cancer stricken wife in her hospital bed was ok.

  57. 57

    @Catsy: This blog needs a “Like” button.

  58. 58
    Lydgate says:

    I felt there was something phony about him too. Trouble was, I felt that way about Hillary and Obama also. I was troubled by the huge Wall Street support of Obama, so I chose to support him Edwards in our primary, but he dropped out. I did feel like he was more specific in his policy proposals than the other two candidates and that he spoke more of the tragedy of growing income inequality than the others too. This counted for something even if it was simply the issue he glommed on to distinguish his candidacy.
    I think of how very scary it is that our Dem candidate could have been someone with a mistress and child waiting in the wings. Good lord.

  59. 59
    Catsy says:

    @artem1s:

    also.too.let’s not forget the pack of wolves he was running with and what they blatantly and proudly stood for.

    I thought about adding that too. It was a rogue’s gallery of people who should’ve done hard time after the Nixon and Reagan administrations.

  60. 60
    shortstop says:

    @Rosalita: The law doesn’t prevent a spouse from testifying against his or her spouse. It prevents him or her from being compelled to do so.

    She just might feel like doing so at some point.

  61. 61
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Edwards seems to have pissed off somebody important.

  62. 62
    stuckinred says:

    And maybe you were thinkin’
    That you thought you knew me well
    But, no one ever knows the heart of anyone else
    I feel like Garbo in this late night grande hotel

  63. 63
    ricky says:

    @Mary Jane: My fee-fees will get over it. But this Anthony Weiner thing is hell on wee-wees everywhere. Just when REAL progressives were about to nail the SCOTUS we get SCROTUMgate.

  64. 64
    Doug Harlan J says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Yes, I am aware of this problem, you put it well.

    Still…I’d vote for zombie Huey Long if I could.

  65. 65
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    He should have rented a bus and went on vacation using his campaign contributions – or paid his rent and utilities with it. Those apparently are all acceptable uses.

  66. 66
    Yutsano says:

    @ricky: I’m sorry your girl Hillary lost. Want a cookie?

  67. 67
    Mary Jane says:

    @ricky: Curses! Foiled again.

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: I don’t think so. I think Edwards is a test case – someone the administration won’t be accused of going after for political motives and who is right on the line in terms of legality. If the DOJ wins this, guys like Ensign will go down in a heartbeat, and the entire Fox crew will be fair game. Edwards is a good test case because he’s out of politics and enough time has passed that they should have all the information there is to have – he’s a relatively static target.

  69. 69
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Doug Harlan J: I don’t think there’s any allegation that he used regular donations to do the payoffs. That’s what’s novel.

    The argument is that he used private donations (personal gifts to him, I believe) of $1 million to keep the affair out of the news. The people who gave the payoff money knew what it was to be used for. That, the DOJ argues, was the violation because it, the theory goes, had a political purpose — keeping his reputation as a family man. Had he not done that, his campaign staff would have had to spend time, i.e. money, on handling the political blowback. Edwards says that the point of the payoff was to keep Elizabeth Edwards from finding out, unrelated to his political campaign.

    That’s my understanding, anyway.

  70. 70
    handsmile says:

    Welcome to CHANDRA LEVY 2011, folks!

    Sex, death, and a Democratic politician as prime suspect! TRIFECTA!

    The squeals coming from the Village will be heard coast-to-coast all summer long.

    And you can bet that John Ensign is one happy fella today, ’cause his story is so much more, you know, complicated for our media barons.

    Some very astute commentary above from, among others, Cleek, EconWatcher, Catsy, Squeakypants.

  71. 71
    jheartney says:

    @aimai:

    But I’m betting that not a day has gone by since her death that he didn’t reflect, miserably, on what a shit he was to her.

    Dunno if he is a decent enough human to feel remorse for what he did to her. But I’m sure that it must be utter hell to look at the smoking ruins of his career and reputation, and realize he did that to himself.

    He’s not an old man yet, but from here forward it’s just waiting to kick off (assuming he stays out of the slammer).

  72. 72
    Sly says:

    @cleek:

    all that screwing around and he still thought running for Pres was a good idea ?

    There were some reports that he was actively lobbying the Obama campaign for the Attorney General up until August of 2008, when he finally copped to the affair.

    @J.:

    And, uh, how many of the bankers responsible for the housing and financial meltdown have been indicted?

    There have been indictments when the DOJ can bring a credible case to court and when there is an actual crime is involved, like fraud. See Anthony Mozilo, Raj Rajaratnam, Ralph Cioffi, Matthew Tannin, Jerry Williams, etc. And the DOJ isn’t going to win all of these cases because they’re pretty hard to prove. Both Cioffi and Tannin of Bear Stearns, for instance, beat their indictments.

    “Taking too many risks” is not a crime. Much of the activities that contributed to the financial collapse were not illegal, which was kind of the whole point of financial deregulation: making illegal stuff legal so people can do that stuff without the threat of criminal or civil penalty. If your expecting Dick Fuld or Lloyd Blankfein to be directly charged, you’ll be waiting a long time.

    Edwards, by comparison, is an easy case. Prosecutors tend to take cases that they’re pretty sure they can win.

  73. 73
    MBL says:

    Gnomedad

    “Johnny”?

    Let’s not overlook this, please. Forget the guy named Hussein; I voted for a guy whose real first name was fucking Johnny and didn’t know about it?

    To the gallows with him.

  74. 74
    IrishGirl says:

    I started out as an Edwards supporter but when I realized he couldn’t win the Party nomination, I switched to then candidate Obama. That being said, I think Edwards should be prosecuted.

    My questions are this: 1) Why are we prosecuting this single cad and why are we NOT prosecuting all the jerks at Goldman Sachs, etc who crashed our economy. 2) if this kind of thing deserves prosecution, then someone REALLY needs to look into Palin’s Magical Mystery Non-Politics tour that is being paid for by her PAC.

  75. 75
    Brachiator says:

    @Lydgate:

    I think of how very scary it is that our Dem candidate could have been someone with a mistress and child waiting in the wings. Good lord.

    One day, Puritan Americans will grow up and we will have a presidential candidate who will introduce his wife and mistress and wink at a pretty reporter (of either gender), and since none of this will have a goddam thing to do with ability to govern, nobody will pay any attention.

    Combine the naked ambition of Edwards with his caddy ways, and a society that is really kind of crazy about sex, and you get this.

    Naked ambition. Hee.

  76. 76
    EconWatcher says:

    @ChrisNYC:

    Interesting. I have to say, that sounds like a creative legal theory upon which to base a criminal prosecution. And by creative, I mean, sounds like a stretch.

  77. 77
    madmatt says:

    Ah yes a democratic led DOJ must explain why Ensign (R-NV) gets a free pass on the same sort of behavior…guess looking back is still allowed if the wrongdoer is a dem. FU Barack and Holder.

  78. 78
    JPL says:

    I didn’t support Edwards but the indictment is a stretch.
    Edwards needs to prove that he was trying to protect his children not the campaign. Why didn’t they sic the IRS on him? Surely that would have been easier to prove.

    ALSO,TOO: If there is a female on the jury, he is in trouble.

  79. 79
    bob h says:

    When it comes to what men will do to satisfy the sex drive, I do not understand anything and find the world a strange place indeed.

  80. 80
    JillS says:

    Two years later, my mom is still walking around calling him “that prick John Edwards”

    I agree, his wife and children deserved better.

  81. 81
    ricky says:

    @Yutsano: Cookies for Hillary supporters? You Obamapologists are such
    Mr. Sogynists.

  82. 82
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @Catsy:

    Bush’s fakery and perfidy was manifest from the beginning, in ways that were a matter of public record and empirically provable to anyone presented with the evidence.

    No, it wasn’t, because the media failed to do their job informing the American people about Bush’s fakery and perfidy. If the media won’t inform the public, do you honestly expect the average low-information voter to know these things, or make any independent effort to find them out?

  83. 83
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Catsy:

    I’m all good with taking both of them down, but if this becomes yet another case of IOKIYAR, there’s going to be some hell to pay.

    Since when? I’m guessing by the time anybody thinks it’s high time Ensign be indicted, most people will have forgotten about it.

    The system skews in favor of Repups. We’re doomed.

  84. 84
    Death Panel Truck says:

    @Catsy:

    Bush voters do not get a pass for being willfully blind to all of that. The evidence was there for anyone who wasn’t personally or politically invested in ignoring it.

    Once again, with feeling: The. Media. Failed. To. Do. Their. Job.

  85. 85
    Lol says:

    Ensign covered up his crimes pretty well. Sure the details leaked but proving a crime is very difficult.

    The only reason charges are being discussed now is that the dumbass voluntarily turned over a bunch of emails he wouldnt release earlier. That gave the Senate committee enough to recommend expulsion and gave the DOJ reason to reopen the investigation.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    In other news, mass murdering shitstain George W. Bush is still at large.

  87. 87
    Sad But True says:

    Count me among those who wonder whether the DOJ felt it had to go after Edwards, a Dem whose career is already dead anyway, in order to lay the groundwork for later indictments of Palin, Gingrich, and any number of Republicans clearly deserving of being on this list.

  88. 88
    Brachiator says:

    @Sly:

    There were some reports that he was actively lobbying the Obama campaign for the Attorney General up until August of 2008, when he finally copped to the affair.

    And that’s the additional shame of it. Had it not been for his personal recklessness, Edwards might have made an effective AG.

  89. 89
    Jason T. says:

    Michael Feldman just tweeted that Breck has cancelled Edwards’ endorsement deal.

    I admit, I lol’d.

  90. 90
    Feudalism Now! says:

    I also, too wonder if Edwards is a test case for a whole slew of indictments. Ensign is obvious. The C street crew that enabled the deal with Ensign’s parents and his staffers is a more nuanced case. There will be plenty of chance for quotable quotes for 2012 ads with fresh indictments rolling out. Not that the DoJ should be a political arm or anything. Heh, indeed.

  91. 91
    moonbat says:

    What’s interesting to me as far as the media coverage of this and Weinergate is that both cases seem to be stand-ins making up for the complete dearth of scandals from the Obama administration. I think it was Benen commenting on this the other day. Where are the Darryl Issa endless inquiries into the evil deeds of this administration? Short answer: There aren’t any! So our liberal news media is looking to make hay on the backs of other democrats behaving badly or who aren’t exactly sure whether they behaved badly or not…

  92. 92
    Lydgate says:

    @Brachiator:
    Scary as in dems would pay for a long, long time.
    sex scandals seem to be the only scandals that resonate with most of the populace. Sigh.

  93. 93
    catpal says:

    ok so I should see an Indictment very soon for Christine “not a witch” ODonnell who Used Campaign funds for personal use.

    The group said its allegations are tied to former O’Donnell aide David Keegan’s affidavit stating O’Donnell, who has run for Senate three times, paid her rent for two months out of campaign funds in 2009 and also used campaign funds for meals and gas. In addition to misappropriation of campaign funds, CREW argues that O’Donnell is guilty of lying about the expenditures and committed tax evasion by not reporting the money as income.

    Representatives for O’Donnell, whose financial disclosure form said her earned income between March 2009 and June 2010 was just $5,800, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Can we see the Indictment of the Tea Party witch Tomorrow?

  94. 94
    shortstop says:

    @ricky: Because everyone knows cookies are for girls, and even mentioning them is trading in gender stereotypes. Wait, what?

  95. 95
    catpal says:

    And where were the Indictments against Palin and the RNC for her “new clothes.”

    And Indict Rick Santorum for the similar misuse of campaign money for Starbucks and his family grocery shopping

    The Prospect decided to heed Santorum’s advice by taking “an honest look at the family budget” — his family budget. What we found is that Santorum’s exurban lifestyle is financed in ways that aren’t available to the average voter back home in Pennsylvania — namely a political action committee that lists payments for such unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia.

  96. 96
    catpal says:

    I’m not thrilled that Edwards did what he did – but unless the Obama DOJ is going to indict Many, Many politicians that have Misused campaign money just over the last 5-10 ears, I don’t get why just Edwards?

  97. 97
    Roy G says:

    Eric Holder is Alberto Gonzales with better PR.

    The DOJ has about as much integrity as the Supreme Court, which is to say, less than 50%.

  98. 98
    Primigenius says:

    Folks… To paraphrase Will Rogers, “all I know is what I see in the media.” I never ate dinner with the Edwardses nor saw them behind closed doors. I’ll bet no one writing here had either. I don’t know if John was St. Francis or the Marquis de Sade. And I don’t know if Elizabeth was Jeanne d’Arc or Agrippina. But I do know the public image created willingly and knowingly by the both of them.
    While it’s nice to hope that people we like are every bit as good and noble and as well-intentioned as we’d like to think we ourselves are, that’s a conceit that’s probably best left in middle school and not entertained by serious adults.
    In a society where half of all marriages end in divorce, while not saying that all of them are the result of philandering, aren’t we being more than a little naive to grab the smelling salts when we hear of a notable person cheating on a spouse? It’s not like this is a recent development. King David, anyone?
    Franklin Roosevelt apparently cheated on Eleanor. Two of the sparkling luminaries of the 20th century. Yet we’re now in a battle to defend and extend the protections secured to us by that philandering husband and his administration. I’ve yet to hear that Social Security is fatally flawed because FDR cheated on that truly wonderful woman he was married to.
    I did support Edwards in ’04 and ’08 because he was the one speaking to the inequities of a healthcare system rigged for the insurance companies and a financial system that was redistributing wealth upward to the already wealthiest portion of the population. In ’08 he led Clinton and Obama to address the same issues themselves.
    And when he dropped out, I supported Barack Obama, whom I believe to be a bright, capable, good man, but whom, as time passes, I fear may well hold the last nail which the Republicans hammer into the coffin of the middle class.
    But none of us, including Edwards, Obama, Clinton, or Roosevelt, are saints. Just human. And we’re a frail species with moments of genius and contemptibility in the mix.

  99. 99
    Svensker says:

    Never liked John Edwards, something about that blue blazer and khaki Southern money thing that makes me feel ooockie (prolly isn’t fair but so sue me). But this seems really stupid. We have fucking torturers, thieves and scoundrels galore (Dick Cheney, Lloyd Blankfein, etc.) and we’re indicting a guy who was a sleazeball to his wife? Come on.

    This kind of backwards priority is why we can’t have nice things.

  100. 100
    AAA Bonds says:

    Don’t say North Carolinians didn’t fucking warn you

  101. 101
    EconWatcher says:

    @Primigenius:

    You make an interesting point, elegantly stated. But it’s always a question of degree.

    Cheating on a spouse? Not in my view disqualifying.

    Cheating on a dying spouse, while using your purported loyalty to your dying spouse as part of your campaign image, while also paying off your mistress? Scumbag.

  102. 102
    eemom says:

    @Svensker:

    We’re not indicting him because he was a sleazeball to his wife. We’re indicting him because he took MY money and spent it to cover up his sleazery, which happens to be against the law.

    But don’t worry, many great minds fail to grasp this elusive metaphysical distinction. Ruth “dumb as a stump” Marcus, for example.

  103. 103
    Brachiator says:

    @Lydgate:

    sex scandals seem to be the only scandals that resonate with most of the populace.

    Only in America. In Italy, for example, it seems to be that it’s a scandal if you don’t have a mistress.

  104. 104
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @Primigenius:

    In a society where half of all marriages end in divorce, while not saying that all of them are the result of philandering, aren’t we being more than a little naive to grab the smelling salts when we hear of a notable person cheating on a spouse? It’s not like this is a recent development. King David, anyone?

    THIS, a million times over. Plus, the rest of your post too and also.

    The self righteousness and retrospective panty sniffing on this thread are hilariously bogus.

    “Oh…I just KNEW there was something about that John Edwards. I could just SMELL it, Mable, you know cause I have a sixth sense for sin, but I could not put my finger on it. Oh that poor Elizabeth…boo hoo hoo.”

    You people are full of shit. You have no idea what went down between the two of them.

    ALSO: The fact that the Obama DOJ is prosecuting Edwards and letting Bush and company off the hook is reason # 3,278 why I’m glad I did not vote for that Reagan Democrat asshole.

  105. 105
    jheartney says:

    @eemom:

    We’re not indicting him because he was a sleazeball to his wife. We’re indicting him because he took MY money and spent it to cover up his sleazery, which happens to be against the law.

    Really? I thought the money used for this was a personal gift from contributors who knew it wasn’t for the campaign. Thus the indictment for illegal contributions, not misuse of campaign funds.

    If you’re going to get all self-righteous, you might want to do it over something where it makes sense. Edwards main sin against his supporters was betraying their trust by running with this crap secretly in tow, not defrauding them of campaign money.

  106. 106
    Ash Can says:

    Edwards Indicted

    Good. Throw the book at him. Just because all deserving shmucks aren’t being indicted doesn’t mean we can’t be glad one is. And if our boy Timmy’s pissed about it, the DoJ must be doing something right.

  107. 107
    eemom says:

    @jheartney:

    Huh. And here I thought money was, like, fungible.

    I don’t know what your definition of fraud is, but mine includes lying or concealing material facts in order to get some. That’s what he did to me and millions of others.

  108. 108
    eemom says:

    @Ash Can:

    Thank you. THANK YOU.

    You just gotta love these “no criminal Democrat should EVER be charged with a crime until Dick Cheney is convicted at the Hague” assclowns.

  109. 109
    jheartney says:

    @eemom:

    You were talking about what you referred to as “MY money.” I don’t think at any point any of this would ever have been funds you had any access to. And while it’s true that money is fungible, it’s not sensible to regard all money everywhere as one big pot.

    If you worked for or contributed to the Edwards campaign, or voted for him in a primary, he certainly betrayed your trust. But I think it’s a mistake to see it as theft of money.

  110. 110
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Tim, Interrupted:

    Look, North Carolinians of all political stripes could and did warn the rest of the country (all the way back in ’04) that John is very self-aggrandizing and opportunistic.

    But I enjoyed his leftward dive in ’08 as much as anyone, or at least as much as Dave Sirota, and the rest of this shit that’s happened since, well . . . I was irked at first that he had the impossible plan of keeping it secret as President, but now I don’t much care. Not my panty drawer, etc.

    It’s hard to imagine that any of the sudden Church ladies appearing all over the country really give a shit about Elizabeth Edwards. It’s just a chance for Democrats to eat their own.

  111. 111
    Jenny says:

    @Doug Harlan J:

    Edwards supporters like me are the aggrieved party

    Doug! You were an Edwards supporter!?! You supported Joe Lieberman’s co-sponsor of the Iraq war resolution.

    Oh brother. How could you!?!

  112. 112
    Jenny says:

    @Catsy:

    I don’t. Edwards was fake for reasons that nobody could know, because they were secret. Some people were able to pick up on his sleaziness but didn’t have anything to go on but their gut feelings, his body language, or other similar cues

    You must be kidding. It wasn’t a secret. It wasn’t gut instincts. It was his horrid voting record. He voted for the Bankruptcy bill, the China trade deal, he worked for a hedge fund that made money foreclosing on homes in New Orleans, and he was 2nd to none as a Iraq invasion cheerleader.

    Just watch this sickening video clip

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SSLn75x6Vs

  113. 113
    jheartney says:

    The interesting thing about the indictment is that in order for these charges to fly, the feds have to show that Rielle would have ratted Edwards out absent being paid off, i.e. she was prepared to blackmail him. If this isn’t the case, then the payments can’t be shown to be campaign contributions, and were instead merely private gifts (the theory of the indictment is that they are campaign contributions because they were used to protect the campaign from the revelation of the affair/love child).

    The bottom line is that for Edwards to be convicted, the prosecution must show that the payments were hush money. If this is the case, then why isn’t Rielle Hunter being charged?

    No idea how this will end, but I don’t think this is a slam dunk.

  114. 114
    Paula says:

    @Jenny:

    Now dare you mention his actual voting record, you CORPORATE SHILL.

  115. 115
    eemom says:

    @jheartney:

    no, they don’t have to show that she WOULD have ratted him out. They only have to show that the purpose of the gifts was to conceal the affair from the public, because obviously there was a RISK that she would rat him out. Rielle’s actual intent is not at issue.

    The defense theory is that the payments were made to conceal the affair from Elizabeth.

    What exactly are you suggesting they charge RH with?

  116. 116
    ChrisNYC says:

    @jheartney: I disagree. There were rumors about one of the candidates with an other woman scandal. There were plenty of people (journalists, loyal Dems if Edwards looked like he was going to get the nomination, staff of other candidates) that knew enough to make trouble for his campaign.

  117. 117
    Jenny says:

    Edwards’s lie filled speech calling for the invasion of Iraq (the resolution he co-sponsored).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY6BZgkI0kI

  118. 118
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    John is very self-aggrandizing and opportunistic.

    Oh my god. A self aggrandizing and opportunistic politician. Heavens to Betsy, what’s next?

    The prissy self righteousness on this issue on a blog that claims to be progressive, reminds me what a fucked up country this is when it comes to sex. And that’s what this is REALLY about; you blue noses hate it that Edwards did the icky with…anyone, really. To do so is in your Puritan DNA.

  119. 119
    jheartney says:

    @eemom:

    If she’s not intending to rat him out, then where does the risk come from? And bear in mind that she has to not only rat him out, she has to do it before November (otherwise no harm to the campaign).

    Theoretically, she would be charged with extortion, but they almost certainly couldn’t make that stick. So the question is can they get a conviction of Edwards based on a theory that presupposes an intent from Rielle that they can’t prove.

    @ChrisNYC:

    There were rumors about one of the candidates with an other woman scandal. There were plenty of people (journalists, loyal Dems if Edwards looked like he was going to get the nomination, staff of other candidates) that knew enough to make trouble for his campaign.

    So how does paying off Rielle keep those other people quiet? Or do you have evidence that the money went to them as well?

  120. 120
    dogwood says:

    Here’s why I lose patience with all the Obama bashers on the internet. Like it or not justice is slow. The Edwards affair is over four years old, and the investigation has been going on for over 2 years. To bitch that the Obama DOJ is going after Edwards and leaving Ensign alone is pretty premature. We don’t know what will happen there; it’s been returned to the Justice Department and, if the Edward’s investigation is any indication, it will take awhile to determine Ensign’s fate.

    Comparing Eric Holder to Alberto Gonzales is ridiculous, offensive and laughable. When I read crap like that, I can only wonder why so many people display such a lack of perspective when it comes to governance.

  121. 121
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Tim, Interrupted

    Dude, I’d fuck him.

    I don’t really agree with your Puritan anti-sex attitude about the whole affair, though. To each his own.

  122. 122
    eemom says:

    @jheartney:

    1. Wrong. In any situation like that there would be a risk that the woman would talk, unless she was a mute zombie or something. The existence of the risk is sufficient to prove that the payments were to prevent it from happening.

    2. The money wasn’t just used to shut her up, it was used to HIDE her……where all those other curious folks sniffing around couldn’t find her and torpedo Candidate Shithead before he fucked us all over like he wanted to.

  123. 123
    maus says:

    @Tim, Interrupted:

    The prissy self righteousness on this issue on a blog that claims to be progressive, reminds me what a fucked up country this is when it comes to sex. And that’s what this is REALLY about; you blue noses hate it that Edwards did the icky with…anyone, really. To do so is in your Puritan DNA.

    There is the impression that Clinton fucked women with his wife’s permission. This is a more Gingrichian situation, with a love child, a dying wife, far more humiliation, and actual campaign fraud behind it.

    But yeah, this is all about sex, and we can’t stand it when people do naughty things.

  124. 124
    jheartney says:

    @eemom:

    I won’t keep going around with you on this, but it seems like a fairly clear distinction:

    Scenario A – No payments made, Rielle blabs, campaign badly damaged;

    Scenario B – Payments made, Rielle stays quiet, campaign continues;

    This ONLY makes sense if Rielle is going to blab absent the money. If you have

    Plausible Scenario C – No payments made, Rielle stays quiet (at least till election day), campaign continues;

    Then this undermines the prosecution’s theory that the payments are from campaign funds. And unless they can show that the payments are from campaign funds, the defense wins. So to the extent that Scenario C is plausible, the prosecution is in trouble.

    The defense doesn’t need to prove their theory, they just need to create some doubt about the prosecution’s. And if the defense can show that Rielle didn’t intend to blab before November, then there may be no conviction.

    I’m not predicting any outcome. I’m just saying the prosecution will have to work for it to succeed.

    WRT these other folks waiting in the wings to expose the affair, what I’ve heard up to now is that they already knew enough to go public, they just didn’t want to hurt Edwards unless it was necessary. Not that they needed Rielle.

  125. 125
    Tim, Interrupted says:

    @AAA Bonds:

    Dude, I’d fuck him.

    Totally

    I don’t really agree with your Puritan anti-sex attitude about the whole affair, though. To each his own.

    MY Puritan anti-sex attitude? I think you misunderstand me, sir. :D

  126. 126
    eemom says:

    @jheartney:

    I’m done here too, but you’re still wrong. The proof of criminal intent on the part of the accused does NOT require proof that the facts are — in fact — as he believes them to be.

    IOW, Rielle could’ve been, in reality, the most loyal, closed-mouthed gf that an asshole like Edwards could hope for…..nevertheless, if he BELIEVED she might blab — even if it was a totally paranoid, irrational belief — AND he solicited these “donations” to keep that from happening and blowing his campaign, then he’s guilty as charged.

    Also, you can’t blow off the hiding aspect so easily. They were, literally, trying to hide her from the inquisitive eyes of National Enquirer et al. If it was just a question of keeping her quiet they wouldn’t have needed to fly her all over the country with Andrew Young’s family in order to accomplish it.

    Case closed.

  127. 127
    lamh34 says:

    I’m late to this thread, but my understanding was that Ensign’s parents paid off his mistress. Ensign did not use campaign funds. he attempted to get his mistress’ husband a job using his clout as Senator, but the exchange of money was between Ensign’s parents on his behalf and NOT campaign money.

  128. 128
    jheartney says:

    @lamh34:

    Well, if we use the Edwards prosecutors/eemom’s logic, if Ensign thought his mistress or her husband might blab, then any money paid to keep them quiet magically becomes campaign funds.

    Sauce for the goose.

  129. 129
    Binky the Bear says:

    I knew Edwards was a liar-it said right on his resume he was a lawyer. Rimshot, enjoy the veal.
    But he was speaking to my issues, he had the cheezy charm that got Billy Jeff two terms, and the rest of the field simply stank. Watching someone die from cancer is hard, especially if its your wife. Wanting to run from that to the fantasy land of Rielle Hunter and becoming president, that’s a dream of life and hope.
    It’s hard to watch people die, slowly and inexorably, from cancer. It is natural to want to escape that horror. And having a terminal illness doesn’t make the victim a hero and maybe the opposite.
    He’s still only 1/3 the creep Newt Gingrich is every single day.

  130. 130
    Jenny says:

    @Binky the Bear: Oh please, the rationalization and denial by his groupies is disgusting.

    He fucked the ditsy new age Rielle Hunter TWO hours after meeting her at a NYC hotel that caters to investment bankers. She was a complete stranger. And to cover, you use Newt’s excuse. Newt said the stress of leadership led him to fuck staffers. You’re saying stress led Edwards to act like a frat kid in heat.

    As to issues, he spoke populist and then voted for the Bankruptcy bill, the China trade deal, worked for a hedge fund that raped New Orleans after Katrina, and co-wrote the Iraq invasion resolution. What a sucker, you are.

  131. 131
    Hedges Ahead says:

    I’m always accused of being a cad-defender when I speak along these lines, but:
    1- how was the Edwards’ marital relations actually, truly, anyone’s business, and
    2- how does anyone know what did or did not transpire between the Edwards, vis-a-vis an agreement between intelligent, mature adults in the privacy of a marriage regarding one another’s sexual satisfaction?
    Read Savage Love sometime. Masses of people are in marriages of mis-matched sexual appetites. Either they start that way by dint of personality or become that way by age, loss of passion or illness, such as undergoing cancer treatments.
    Isn’t it possible that they had the adult conversation, or even a mature un-spoken agreement along the lines of;
    John- “You’re going through some tough times, and I want to support you emotionally. But I understand that you cannot physically support me, so I will seek it outside the bounds of our marriage.”
    Elizabeth- “I’m not happy with the arrangement, but my inability due to illness to support you physically is another loss I would rather not be subject to; I have a lot going on. At least have the decency to see your mistress outside of my sight.”
    …and then…
    Media- “Holy pants! A mature couple might be in some kind of weird, poly-amorous relationship! This kind of arrangement takes longer than 10 seconds to explain and emotional maturity of greater than teenagers to comprehend! Obviously John can’t wait for his wife to kick the bucket! Let’s air all of this formerly private business where everyone can see, and interview Elizabeth for her reaction! Enquirer, get on this!”
    I mean seriously- seriously? Has anyone even paused that maybe John going outside the marriage was something they maturely discussed? Isn’t it a little possible that when it could no longer remain secret, the Edwards simply went into the well-established secret mistress-wife narrative, since politicians come out of that all the time?
    Really, this all just continues to be insulting to Elizabeth. She was a very smart woman, and I’m amazed at the class she demonstrated during the media airing of all of that bullroar, when she did in fact have better things to do and think about than who her husband was with. Because I know I want to spend my last half year of life on TV playing the part of jilted spouse so the media can have a nice neat scandal, instead of the complicated relationship I suspect was going on.

  132. 132
    Brachiator says:

    @Hedges Ahead:

    Isn’t it possible that they had the adult conversation, or even a mature un-spoken agreement along the lines of…

    I read Savage Love also. And one thing that is clear from reading it is that people rarely have mature, adult conversations about their sexual desires. In fact, there is little that is mature about sexual desire. Even when people have what they believe are mature conversations about sexual stuff in the abstract, when they actually start acting on their desires, all hell breaks loose.

    And since I don’t know anything about the state of the Edwards’ marriage, it is absolutely meaningless to speculate on what conversations may or may not have taken place. This kind of stuff says far more about the imagination of the poster than it does about the actual people being discussed.

    That said, I agree with you about the pointlessness of much of the discussion here.

    On the other hand, since campaign funds may have been apart of payments to Edwards’ mistress, this is not entirely a private matter.

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