John Edwards’ ‘serious’ medical condition leads to trial delay
A cardiologist for former presidential candidate John Edwards says he has a life-threatening medical condition that will require surgery next month, a federal judge disclosed Friday as she postponed Edwards’ campaign corruption trial for at least two months.
Saying the 58-year-old Edwards suffers from “a serious condition,” U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles delayed the trial until at least March 26. The judge said she had read two letters from Edwards’ cardiologist but she did not disclose details about the former senator’s condition.
Eagles quoted the cardiologist as saying that Edwards’ condition is treatable, with a good chance of recovery. She said the doctor recommended that Edwards avoid driving or traveling.
“Clearly the ends of justice are served by continuance, given the seriousness of his medical condition,” Eagles said.
She asked Edwards’ lawyers to provide her with a medical update Feb. 28.
Edwards, whose presence in court had been requested by Eagles, walked in and out of the federal courthouse in Greensboro, N.C., without assistance, the Associated Press reported.
The trial, which was continued twice prior to Friday’s hearing, had been scheduled to begin Jan. 30.
Edwards is a one-term U.S. senator who ran as a vice-presidential candidate with Sen. John Kerry on the 2004 Democratic ticket and twice ran for president. He is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts.
Prosecutors say Edwards violated campaign finance laws while attempting to cover up an illicit affair with a campaign videographer who later gave birth to his daughter. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted on all counts.
A federal indictment in June alleged that Edwards accepted more than $900,000 in illegal contributions from Bunny Mellon, a philanthropist in Virginia, and the late Fred Baron, a Texas lawyer. The indictment said the payments were campaign contributions used by Edwards to pay living expenses for Reille Hunter while trying to keep their affair secret.