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Surgery to delay John Edwards' corruption trial

DURHAM, N.C. — 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 trial had been set to begin Jan. 30. 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.

Edwards is a one-term U.S. senator from North Carolina who ran as a vice presidential candidate with Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts 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 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 Rielle Hunter while trying to keep their affair secret. His wife, Elizabeth Edwards, suffered from terminal cancer at the time. She died in December 2010. Edwards' lawyers have argued that the payments were private gifts.

Surgery to delay John Edwards' corruption trial 01/13/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 13, 2012 11:34pm]
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