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At first we thought the news that John Edwards had come down with a mysterious "medical issue" that would prevent him from facing a judge for campaign finance-related crimes next month was a joke -- it's not. The former presidential candidate's lawyers filed the motion on Thursday afternoon, just over a month before January 30 start date for Edwards' trial. While details of the illness are in a sealed court document for the judge to review the motion (PDF) states that the former Senator "has unexpectedly encountered a medical issue [that] makes the trial of this case in the January 2012 criminal term extraordinarily difficult. This medical issue cannot be resolved before the end of the January 2012 criminal term." Greensboro's local ABC affiliate who broke the story explains, "The government has responded by saying it is ready for trial, and oppose a continuance based on the need for more preparation. Prosecutors say they take no stand on the basis of a medical issue." Though it's easy to turn the Edwards news into a joke -- medical issues, even mysterious ones, are seldom funny -- we can't help but wonder if the requested delay has anything to do with recent reports that Edwards has asked his girlfriend Rielle Hunter to move in with him at his Chapel Hill compound. All speculation aside, one thing becomes more apparent with each passing day: John Edwards has had a rough year.

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