WASHINGTON — A two-year grand jury investigation of John Edwards has reached a decisive point. Prosecutors believe they have a strong case, but have not yet gotten a green light from the Justice Department to charge the former presidential candidate, NBC News has learned. The issue: did Edwards violate election laws by trying to cover up his affair with a campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter.
Sources close to the investigation say Justice Department attorneys are now conducting a final review of evidence, and an indictment could come within days or weeks. In what could be an ominous development for Edwards, prosecutors already are making arrangements to record the sworn testimony of a key witness for possible use in a future trial, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“It would be surprising now if he wasn’t indicted,” said Stephen Saltzburg, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University law professor. “If John Edwards was aware that money was being paid to hide his mistress... and it was done to help his campaign, then he’s in trouble.”