GREENSBORO, N.C., Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Lawyers for ex-U.S. Sen. John Edwards say the case against him should be dropped because politics influenced the Republican attorney general who indicted him.
At a federal court hearing Wednesday, Politico reported, Edwards' lawyers were expected to argue politics so influenced former Republican U.S. Attorney George Holding in his decision to indict Edwards, a Democrat, that the case should be thrown out.
Holding indicted Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, in June on charges of campaign finance law violations, then announced weeks later he was resigning and running for Congress as a Republican.
"This case is about politics. … A Republican U.S. attorney with political ambitions of his own has used this high-profile case to his personal benefit," Edwards attorneys Abbe Lowell, Jim Cooney and Wade Smith argued in a motion filed last month. "There is simply no explanation for a taxpayer-funded investigation of this scope unless the intent was to dig up anything and everything possible on Mr. Edwards. … This actual or appearance of a conflict is now highlighted by Mr. Holding's announcement to run for office."
Many North Carolina Democrats also suggested political motivations for the indictment, Politico said.
Edwards, 58, faces charges he violated campaign finance laws for using funds from his unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign from two wealthy supporters to conceal his pregnant mistress from the public. Prosecutors say the donations exceeded legal limits and amounted to campaign contributions because they were intended to keep the affair secret to preserve his presidential bid.
The payments went toward living, medical and other expenses for videographer Reille Hunter, with whom Edwards had an extramarital affair and a child.
His lawyers say he wanted to hide the affair and Hunter's pregnancy from his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, and that hundreds of thousands of dollars from his wealthy friends went to others, not him, and were gifts.