John Edwards lied when he denied his affair. Now he’s asking the nation to take his word that he’s revealed everything.
But the strange behavior of Edwards and those around him, coupled with the backlog of other tabloid allegations, raise many unanswered questions.
Three weeks ago, for instance, the National Enquirer confronted John Edwards at 2:40 a.m. leaving his mistress' hotel room in Beverly Hills, allegedly after visiting their so-called love child. Shortly afterward, FOXNews.com confirmed Edwards indeed had been escorted from a hotel bathroom by security guards who witnessed his sprint from reporters.
In the days that followed, Edwards dismissed all related questions, consistently saying he wouldn't respond to "tabloid lies."
Now, he has answered the biggest question surrounding the reports by admitting to an extra-marital affair with a filmmaker, Rielle Hunter, in 2006.
He still, however, denies claims that he fathered her child and all knowledge of his supporters' financial support of her and the former staff member who has claimed to be the father.
"These are all things in supermarket tabloids, which make the most outrageous allegations every week," he told ABC News. "We’ll just start with where the source of this information comes."
In this case, the source was right on one thing.
A Complicated Coverup
In 2007, reporters first started to question the relationship between Edwards and Hunter, who produced video "webisodes" for his campaign. The New York Post had published a gossip item about a presidential candidate with a New York City girlfriend and another reporter had written about the abrupt disappearance of the videos from the Edwards campaign web site.
The National Enquirer in December discovered a then-pregnant Hunter, who had moved from New York to a few miles from the Edwards presidential campaign headquarters in North Carolina. She was driving a car registered to Andrew Young, a top Edwards aide, and living in a gated community a few streets away from where Young lived with his wife and three children, the paper reported.
Shortly afterward Young claimed, through his attorney, that he was the father of Hunter’s child, and that he had left the Edwards campaign and sought privacy as he worked to heal his family. The Enquirer and others have reported a number of facts that, while not proving paternity, indicate a complicated effort to finance and hide the pregnant woman.
Reports stated Hunter moved within blocks of Andrew Young, his wife, Cheri, and their children, even sharing meals. When questioned by the Enquirer, Hunter first denied her identity and then refused all questions. Andrew Young was also coy about his identity and blocked the Enquirer reporter's car in his driveway, while Cheri Young called 911. No charges were filed against the reporter, Alan Butterfield.
Within months, Hunter and the Youngs had moved to the West Coast. Enquirer reporters say that they all moved into the same house in a gated section of Montecito, an exclusive section of Santa Barbara, Calif., and one of the nation's most expensive communities.
FOXNews.com confirmed that public records connect Cheri Young to the rented home worth approximately $4 million. Since leaving New York, no public records exist of Hunter living anywhere, however, when her daughter, Frances Hunter, was born, she signed the birth certificate in Santa Barbara on Feb. 27.
The space for "father" was left blank.
Financing Two Families
As for reports that Edwards is paying "hush money" to Hunter and Young, Edwards has stated that he never paid money to anyone to keep them quiet about the affair.
A source close to Edwards’ former campaign confirmed to FOX News reports that Fred Baron, a Dallas lawyer and former campaign finance chairman for Edwards, secretly provided financial help to both Hunter and Young. He apparently paid with his own funds and has told other news outlets Edwards did not know about the arrangement.
Edwards said he learned of the payments through reporters and that he "had no knowledge" of the payouts outside of that.
The payments reportedly have been towering — $15,000 a month to Hunter, according to reports, plus other payments to Young.
The Youngs previously lived in an upscale, gated North Carolina community just south of Chapel Hill, renting a property then owned by a top Edwards donor, former NBA star Eric Montross. He told FOXNews.com the Youngs paid market rates and the arrangement was "totally free of any ties to the political campaign."
Multiple calls left to the owner of the California house have not been returned.
The most prominent unanswered question remains, who is Frances Hunter's father?
The National Enquirer published a grainy picture that appears to show Edwards holding a child, and the tabloid says it is confident the child is his.
Edwards said Friday he’s happy to take a paternity test to establish he is not the father of Frances Quinn Hunter. The National Enquirer, which stands by its “love child” claim, has repeatedly called on Edwards to submit to a test, and now Rielle Hunter's sister has joined that call.
"As far as being the father of Hunter's love child, you might as well go all the way now, Johnny Boy," the newspaper wrote on its Web site Friday night. "Submit to a DNA test.”
Hunter on Saturday said she will not participate in DNA testing to establish the paternity of her daughter.
Rielle Hunter's lawyer, Robert Gordon, says his client is a private individual who wishes to maintain the privacy of herself and her daughter.
In a statement, Gordon said that Hunter is ruling out any kind of testing that could establish who the daughter's father is.
Both Edwards and his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth Edwards, say he is putting it all on the table in an attempt to move past the allegations and innuendo that until Friday existed mostly in tabloids, blogs and political rumor mills.
In his written statement, John Edwards said Friday he used the fact that the tabloid stories "contained many falsities" to deny them in the first place.
"But being 99 percent honest is no longer enough."
In a statement released on the Daily Kos, Edwards’ wife said "our private matter" could no longer stay private, "because of a recent string of hurtful and absurd lies in a tabloid publication, because of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage."