Local/State

Wealthy Edwards donors testify

Friday, December 03, 2010

The parade of witnesses before a federal grand jury investigating former presidential candidate John Edwards continued Friday.

Friday morning, a black SUV arrived at the federal courthouse in Raleigh and five people got out.

Sources tell ABC11 that four of them are relatives of heiress Bunny Mellon - including her son Stacy Lloyd III, his two sons, Stacy Lloyd IV and Thomas Lloyd, plus Thomas Lloyd's wife, Ricki.

The grand jury has been investigating Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, 2004 Democratic candidate for vice president, and 2008 presidential candidate, for more than a year.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

According to sources, prosecutors are focused on the possible misuse of campaign contributions. They want to know about the arrangement to conceal the affair and the baby John Edwards had with his mistress, Rielle Hunter.

Sources say prosecutors are gathering information about the people who donated money to help Edwards' former aide Andrew Young, his wife, and Hunter live a life on the run.

Both Hunter and Young have testified before the grand jury.

Hunter worked for Edwards' political action committee in 2006, shooting behind-the-scenes video as the Democrat prepared to launch his White House campaign. The committee paid her video production firm $100,000 that year and then another $14,000 later on in what a senior campaign official described as a payment for leftover footage.

Young has said he was tasked with taking care of Hunter both during the campaign and after. He described receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from Edwards supporters.

Young has said that some of the money came from Bunny Mellon, the wealthy widow of banking heir Paul Mellon and Edwards campaign finance leader Fred Baron, who died last year.

Attorney Alexander Forger told The Associated Press that the four members of the Mellon family who testified Friday know nothing about the Edwards campaign beyond the fact that Bunny Mellon supported the former North Carolina senator.

Edwards has largely been in seclusion since admitting two years ago that he had an affair with Hunter. He publicly admitted for the first time earlier this year he fathered her child. John and Elizabeth Edwards have separated after more than 30 years of marriage.

The ABC11 I-Team reported Wednesday that the Edwards campaign account is still flush with nearly four million dollars - and according to FEC filings - is spending between 50 and 90-thousand dollars every month.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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