The trial of disgraced former Senator (he coulda been a contender!) John Edwards, who is accused of breaking campaign finance laws, is well underway, and there are, as to be expected, nuggets both titillating and shameful coming forward. There are also, as to be expected, more questions to be asked.
But first, a question: We are supposed to almost feel sorry for Edwards, now, right? That's why we've gotten the sad tales of how he sits alone in his house in North Carolina, the house he shared with Elizabeth, who died of cancer in 2010. He's pretty much socially (don't even start with politically) shunned, and his love affair with Rielle Hunter has turned bitter. That's why we see, in photos, he's strained of face, sad around the eyes, maybe even a bit haunted. He's generally with his daughter, or mother—nurturing protective forces, you'd guess. He is a shell, you could say, of the big-grinning glad-hander we used to know. But as soon as you start to feel at all sorry for him (and, really, don't), you get a story like the one in Wednesday's New York Post written by Tara Palmeri. A blast from the past, if you will: And, yes, these are the things that come out in a trial over what was done way back in 2008, when John Edwards was, by appearances anyway, quite a different man, and campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.
As for that trial and what's at stake: Edwards could lose his law license and get up to 30 years in jail if convicted. The prosecution's basic requirement is to show that Edwards knew that money he received from Bunny Mellon and the late Fred Baron counted as campaign contributions, and that he broke the law in full awareness. But the micro of what's happened at the trial thus far is much sleazier, and the facts more complicated.