It's unclear whether John Edwards will testify in his own defense, despite his past life as an ultra-successful trial attorney. Regardless, the former senator and failed Democratic presidential candidate has his freedom on the line in the case, facing the possibility of a lengthy federal prison sentence if convicted on charges of violating campaign finance law.
The eldest daughter of John and Elizabeth Edwards appears to be the only one of their children listed as a potential witness. Her name was included as a potential witness for the defense - she could offer never-before-heard insight into what was happening inside the Edwards family circle as the scandal unfolded.
Elizabeth Edwards, who died in 2010 following her lengthy battle with breast cancer, will remain a pivotal figure in the John Edwards case. The defense's case rests in large part on convincing the jury that donations from wealthy benefactors were meant to shield Elizabeth and the rest of the family from evidence of John's infidelity. But for the prosecution, she is an important figure - perhaps one with whom members of the jury might empathize as the government tries to cast John Edwards as a "master manipulator."
Rielle Hunter, Edwards' mistress, has been listed as a potential witness for both the prosecution and the defense. Her testimony could be blockbuster. The former Edwards videographer became romantically involved with the presidential candidate during his campaign and four years ago gave birth to their child, Frances Quinn Hunter. Edwards initially denied paternity but later admitted he was the father.
Andrew Young is the former Edwards campaign aide who had a very public falling out with the former senator. He was called Monday as a witness for the prosecution. Young is central, because he originally claimed to be the father of Rielle Hunter's and John Edwards' baby girl. Young has most recently been in a legal fight with Hunter over the ownership of a sex tape.
Shown here in 1971, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, now a 101-year-old heiress, is one of two wealthy donors at the heart of the Edwards trial. Prosecutors are trying to prove that the donations amounted to an illegal campaign contribution to shield Edwards' presidential campaign from the damage of an affair.
Fred Baron, a Texas lawyer, is the other donor who, along with Mellon, put up roughly $1 million to help Hunter. Baron died in 2008. But his wife Lisa Blue Baron has been listed as a potential witness for the prosecution.
A prominent cast of characters is expected to play a front-and-center role in the John Edwards trial getting under way this week. Some will be called to the witness stand. Others will simply factor into the lurid narratives being woven by lawyers on both sides of the case. The following is a guide to the central figures in the Edwards trial.