Friday , July 25, 2008
A Beverly Hills hotel security guard told FOXNews.com he intervened this week between a man he identified as former Sen. John Edwards and tabloid reporters who chased down the former presidential hopeful after what they're calling a rendezvous with his mistress and love child.
The Beverly Hilton Hotel guard said he encountered a shaken and ashen-faced Edwards — whom he did not immediately recognize — in a hotel men's room early Tuesday morning in a literal tug-of-war with reporters on the other side of the door.
"What are they saying about me?" the guard said Edwards asked.
"His face just went totally white," the guard said, when Edwards was told the reporters were shouting out questions about Edwards and Rielle Hunter, a woman the National Enquirer says is the mother of his child.
The guard said he escorted Edwards, who was not a registered guest at the hotel, out of the building after 2 a.m. Edwards did not say anything while he was escorted out, said the guard, adding that at times the reporters on the scene were "rough on him," sticking a camera in his face and shouting questions.
The guard did not recognize Edwards at the time of the incident, but said he concluded it was the 2008 presidential hopeful after hearing reports about the incident and finding an Enquirer reporter's notebook at the scene.
The guard said during the chase the reporters had dropped the notebook, which he picked up. "This book has everything in it on him," he said, referring to Edwards. The guard later confirmed Edwards' identity after being shown a photograph.
A former campaign staffer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told FOXNews.com he wishes he were "more surprised" to hear reports Edwards was visiting Hunter. "I'm definitely upset by it. I wish I was more surprised, though."
Edwards this week has repeatedly refused to comment on the Enquirer report. Asked about it on Thursday at an event in New Orleans, he said: "I have no idea what you're asking about. I've responded, consistently, to these tabloid allegations by saying I don't respond to these lies and you know that ... and I stand by that."
Edwards spokesmen did not respond to repeated calls by FOXNews.com to respond to this story.
Beverly Hills Police Sgt. Michael Publicker, meanwhile, confirmed Friday that an incident report was filed with the department by two of the tabloid's reporters. Publicker said that contrary to a published report, a "criminal complaint" was not filed and there are no charges pending.
"It will be looked into," Publicker said, refusing to say whether Edwards would be contacted as part of a formal investigation. "We're not going to comment on the investigation," he said.
Police department spokesman Tony Lee said Publicker told him that Edwards was not named on the incident report.
Enquirer Editor-in-Chief David Perel told FOXNews.com his reporters caught Edwards visiting Hunter and her baby at the hotel earlier Monday evening. Perel said Hunter and Edwards have been occasionally getting together so Edwards can see the baby. Hunter came to Beverly Hills with a male friend, Bob McGovern, said Perel. Hunter and her companion reportedly booked two rooms under McGovern's name, and McGovern picked up Edwards to bring him back to the hotel.
Perel said Enquirer staff had been given information about the planned Edwards-Hunter meeting, and the tabloid sent reporters to the hotel in anticipation of Edwards' arrival. According to the Enquirer, Edwards was first spotted being dropped off at the hotel at 9:45 p.m. PT, about 25 minutes after reporters watched McGovern leave the building in his BMW.
Edwards went to Hunter's room and the two left the hotel together and returned 45 minutes later, Perel said. Edwards reportedly entered her room and stayed there until after 2:30 a.m. PT.
FOXNews.com could not independently confirm the Enquirer's allegations. Perel also declined to identify where the Enquirer received the information about Edwards' alleged visits.
Perel told FOXNews.com that after leaving Hunter's room, Edwards took an elevator to the basement, where he was confronted by two Enquirer reporters. He ran into the bathroom, where he remained until the security guard arrived.
The Enquirer says it has videotape showing Hunter entering the room where she met Edwards, and shows Edwards leaving the same room. However, the Enquirer has thus far declined repeated requests by FOXNews.com to release any photographs or videotape evidence of the incident.
"We value the privacy of all the guests," Simonetti told FOXNews.com, adding, "The non-disclosure policy applies to the requests of the names, whether it's past, current or anticipated guests... That's our policy."
Simonetti said she had "no knowledge" of the incident report filed by the two Enquirer reporters, and "I don't have any knowledge of any other circumstances."
As recently as last month, individuals vetting vice presidential candidates for Barack Obama had listed Edwards as a potential running mate. Edwards was viewed as a candidate who could help Obama appeal to white, working-class voters who had favored Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
Edwards, who was John Kerry's running mate in 2004, endorsed Obama in May, saying the presumptive presidential nominee held the same views he did about uniting a divided America.
Before and during the Democratic primaries, Edwards urged all candidates to boycott planned debates on FOX News, even though he had made prior appearances on the channel. One of those debates was to be sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus.
Last October, the Enquirer reported that several sources said a former campaign worker on Edwards' campaign had been having an affair with the former North Carolina senator. In an e-mail allegedly written by Hunter to a friend, she wrote that she is "in love with John," but it's "difficult because he is married and has kids."
Edwards' wife Elizabeth, whom many have credited as being one of the driving forces behind Edwards' campaign, announced in March that her breast cancer had re-emerged after going into remission following a 2004 diagnosis.
Hunter has said that the father of her child is former Edwards campaign official Andrew Young. The 41-year-old married father of three has also said he is the father.