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Former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards has admitted having an affair with Rielle Hunter even as his wife battled cancer.

He denies fathering her daughter, as has been widely speculated.

John Edwards told ABC News that he “lied repeatedly” about the affair with “a 42-year-old woman” but said that he didn’t love her.

He has not taken a paternity test but “knows he isn’t the father” of her love child because of the timing of the affair and the birth.

Rielle Hunter’s daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, was born February 27, 2008. The birth certificate filed in California lists no father’s name.

A former Edwards staffer, Andrew Young, claims he is the father (on a side note, Young, like Edwards, is married and has three children).

The 2004 Democratic nominee for Vice President, Edwards was a top contender for the party’s presidential nomination this year, pursuing his party’s nod even after announcing that his wife, Elizabeth, had a deadly form of cancer.

In 2006, John Edwards’ political action committee paid $114,000 in a four-month span to a newly formed firm run by Rielle Hunter.


She directed the production of web videos for the candidate, although she produced just four videos in all, and one was under three minutes.

Payments from Edwards’ One America Committee to Midline Groove Productions LLC began July 5, 2006, five days after Hunter incorporated the firm.

Edwards said the affair began in 2006, around the time Hunter was hired. The pair traveled together throughout the country and world that year.

He said his family learned of the affair in 2006.

The National Enquirer first reported the relationship in late 2007, when Hunter was still pregnant. The story caused little stir.

The celebrity gossip magazine then had John Edwards cornered at a hotel, visiting Hunter, in Beverly Hills just last month.

He denied that ever happened at the time but now admits it.

Were it not for the Democratic National Convention – where he was expected to play a role – later this month, he may have continued dodging these rumors, which until now were largely ignored by the mainstream media.

But today’s Charlotte Observer quoted several prominent Democrats – by name – urging the former U.S. Senator to more convincingly confront allegations by the Enquirer, about which he has issued only flimsy denials in the past.

Edwards’ admissions can be seen on Nightline at 11:30 EST. Not surprisingly, he picked the tail end of the weekly news cycle for an interview.

Follow the link to read the full extent of this ABC News bombshell.

UPDATE: John Edwards has issued an official statement:

“In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with [Rielle Hunter], and I asked for forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99% honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006. It ended then. I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established. I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

It is inadequate to say to the people who believed in me that I am sorry, as it is inadequate to say to the people who love me that I am sorry. In the course of several campaigns, I started to believe that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic. If you want to beat me up – feel free. You cannot beat me up more than I have already beaten up myself. I have been stripped bare and will now work with everything I have to help my family and others who need my help.

I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say.”