RALEIGH, N.C. – A key member of the legal team defending John Edwards will likely be unable to represent the former presidential candidate at his upcoming campaign finance trial following questions about a potential conflict of interest.
The move comes after prosecutors questioned whether attorney Wade Smith had a conflict of interest because of a 2009 conversation with a financial adviser for Bunny Mellon. Mellon is a wealthy socialite who provided the bulk of nearly $1 million used to support Edwards' pregnant mistress as he ran for president in 2007.
According to the government, Smith told Mellon's adviser Edwards knew the money was intended to help him. That appears to conflict with statements by Edwards that he knew nothing of the payments.
Smith says the issue gives him little choice but to withdraw because he likely would have to testify about the conversation.