Former US senator and presidential candidate John Edwards has a “serious” medical issue that will delay his criminal trial on charges of flouting campaign finance laws to cover up an affair with a woman who bore his child, according to court documents.
The 58-year-old Democrat is accused of secretly accepting more than $900,000 ((£588,000) from two wealthy supporters to help cover up an affair and a child conceived with a videographer working for his 2008 presidential campaign.
In December, Mr Edwards’ lawyers asked for a two-month postponement of his trial in a federal court in Greensboro, North Carolina, citing in part an undisclosed medical issue.
A court docket showed Judge Catherine Eagles had postponed the trial until at least March 26 “due to defendant’s serious medical condition.” She ordered Mr Edwards to provide a written medical update by February 28.
A legal source said Mr Edwards has a medical issue that requires monitoring and treatment. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if convicted.
The money in question was given to an Edwards aide to pay for former videographer Rielle Hunter’s medical visits, prenatal care, rent, car, air travel and other living expenses, the indictment said.
The defense said the payments were intended to hide the affair from Mr Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, who died of breast cancer in 2010, and were not campaign contributions subject to campaign finance laws.