A North Carolina grand jury has formally indicted former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards on criminal campaign finance violations.
The charges stem from the Rielle Hunter sex and love child scandal that ended his political career when the National Enquirer exposed him in 2007-08.
The Democratic V.P. nominee in 2004 and candidate for president in 2004 and 2008 was charged with four counts of illegal campaign contributions, plus one count of conspiracy and one count of false statements.
The federal indictment comes after a probe into whether John Edwards used money from two supporters to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter.
The former campaign videographer with whom he had a child also dumped him recently, according to reports that have not been confirmed.
Prosecutors say the money from John's supporters to Hunter constituted campaign donations because it furthered his political career.
Edwards attorneys say that interpretation of campaign finance law is bogus."John Edwards has done wrong in his life - and he knows it better than anyone - but he did not break the law," his attorney, former White House Counsel Gregory Craig, told the Los Angeles Times last week.
"The government is wrong on the facts and the law. It is novel and untested. There is no civil or criminal precedent for such a prosecution."
At the time of the affair and alleged cover-up, Edwards' wife Elizabeth, who passed away last winter, was battling incurable breast cancer.
That doesn't make what he did any worse legally, but he didn't do himself any favors in the court of public opinion with his reckless actions.
Edwards, 57, has reportedly been offered plea deals to lessen the criminal penalties, but he has refused to plead guilty to a felony offense.
Whether that changes in coming months remains to be seen, but his fall from grace is already perhaps the most stunning in political history.