John Edwards Indicted - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

John Edwards Indicted On Conspiracy, Campaign-Law Violations

Washington (CNN) -- Former senator and 2008 presidential candidate John Edwards was indicted Friday on six counts, including conspiracy, issuing false statements, and violating campaign contribution laws.

Edwards is scheduled to appear in federal court in Winston Salem, North Carolina, at 2:30 p.m. ET, according to a Justice Department official.

Plea discussions had been ongoing between Edwards' defense lawyers and federal prosecutors, but no agreement was reached. Edwards had not wanted to plead guilty to a felony because he could lose his law license, a source familiar with the inquiry previously told CNN.

A grand jury has been investigating that money given to support Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, by benefactors of Edwards should have been considered campaign donations -- a contention Edwards' team has disputed.

Prosecutors allege that Edwards improperly accepted over $900,000 as part of an effort to conceal facts he believed would damage his White House bid.

"Democracy demands that our election system be protected, and without vigorously enforced campaign finance laws, the people of this country lose their voice," U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding said in a written statement. "The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Department of Justice are committed to the prosecution of individuals who abuse the very system of which they seek to become a part."

"Public servants are held to the same laws as everyone else in this country. The position sought does not exempt anyone, even those running for president of the United States," said North Carolina FBI lead agent Chris Briese.

The case involves financial aid given to Hunter. During their affair, Hunter became pregnant with Edwards' baby, though at first he denied he was the father.

While prosecutors believe the monetary help given to Hunter by two of Edwards' political backers should have been considered campaign donations, Edwards' attorneys disagree.

Edwards' attorney Greg Craig has said his client "has done wrong in his life -- and he knows it better than anyone -- but he did not break the law." He said the government's theory of the case "is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law."

The government is believed to be building its case that Edwards violated campaign finance law on an 11-year-old advisory opinion issued by the Federal Election Commission, which asserted that a gift to a candidate for federal office would be considered a campaign contribution, a source with knowledge of the inquiry told CNN this week. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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