Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' former girlfriend, slipped in the back door of the federal courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday morning to speak to a grand jury. Hunter carried her daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, who was born in February 2008. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, has denied being the father of Frances, though he has admitted an affair with Hunter during his failed run in 2006 for the Democratic nomination for president. Hunter held Frances close as she followed two federal agents into the courthouse. Frances wore a bonnet and a white dress. A federal grand jury is investigating whether Edwards misused campaign funds as hush money for Hunter. It meets in secret and its discussions are confidential. The jurors have the power to bring criminal charges but can also decline to pursue a matter brought before them by prosecutors. Hunter, a recovered drug addict and videographer, was paid $100,000 by the Edwards campaign in 2006 to produce a series of videos offering an intimate look at Edwards during his campaign. As part of the investigation, the grand jury may ask questions that will help them determine whether Hunter was paid a fair market rate for her work. Andrew Young, a former Edwards aide who claimed paternity of Hunter's daughter, has pitched a tell-all book to a New York publisher. In his proposal, Young said that he is not the father of Frances Quinn and that he earlier took responsibility for the child as a favor to Edwards. Raleigh News & Observer
'Great Train Robber' released from jail
Britain's notorious "Great Train Robber" was released from his prison sentence Thursday as the nearly 80-year-old lay close to death in a hospital bed. Britain's Justice Secretary Jack Straw said he decided to release Ronnie Biggs on compassionate grounds after he fell seriously ill this week in his cell at Norwich Prison. Biggs was part of a gang that robbed a Glasgow-to-London mail train in August 1963, in what was called the "heist of the century." The robbery netted 2.6 million pounds — worth more than $50 million today. He was caught and sentenced to 30 years in jail, then escaped in 1965 and fled to Brazil. He surrendered in 2001.
Bought for quarter, sold for $10,323
Record dealer Tim Schloe of St. Paul, Minn., invested less than a quarter to pick up a scratchy 7-inch disc called Greyhound Blues by D.A. Hunt. It was part of a 10,000-disc collection he bought at an estate sale in Texas. Turns out that was one of the first singles released by Sun Records, the historic Memphis label that discovered Elvis Presley. And that made it popular on eBay. When the bidding ended, the record sold to a West Coast collector for $10,323. "I'm pretty amazed," Schloe told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "I had no idea what to expect." With that sold, Schloe plans to get back into that collection and see if he can find another gem.
Australia's iconic koala dies in surgery
Sam the koala, who gained worldwide sympathy when she was rescued during Australia's wildfires this year, was euthanized Thursday after a veterinarian found the cysts that threatened her life were inoperable. Sam, 4, had developed the cysts associated with urogenital chlamydiosis, which affects more than 50 percent of Australia's koalas. "She was going to be in pain in the state she was in," veterinarian John Butler said. "We had no hope of helping her."