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On eve of convention, John Edwards admits to extramarital affair

By A. James Memmott

August 8, 2008 at 6:13pm

After months of denial, John Edwards has admitted he had an affair with a filmmaker who worked for his campaign.

Edwards, a former senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate who campaigned for his party’s presidential nomination this year, told ABC News that he had been involved with Rielle Hunter, 44.

The pair reportedly met in a New York City bar in 2006. She was later paid $114,000 by an Edwards political action committee called One America Committee to produce website documentaries, ABC reported.

Hunter has said that her six-month contract with the committee terminated on Dec. 31, 2006.

In an interview to be aired tonight, Edwards reportedly says that his wife Elizabeth’s cancer was in remission during the time of the affair and that he told his family of it in 2006.

Edwards also denied that he was the father of baby born to Hunter in February of this year.

Andrew Young, an Edwards campaign worker, has said he is the father of the girl, Frances Quinn Hunter.

Edwards claims his affair with Hunter was over before the child was conceived. He has not taken a paternity test.

The National Enquirer first reported on the affair in October of last year.

At that time, Edwards said the story was “untrue” and “ridiculous.”

The connection with Hunter linked Edwards with novelist Jay McInerney, who dated Hunter, then known as Lisa Druck, in the 1980s.

“When she wasn’t out at nightclubs, she was taking acting classes,” McInerney told the New York Post. “…I spent a lot of time with her and her friends, whose behavior intrigued and appalled me to such an extent that I ended up basing a novel on the experience.”

Druck served as the inspiration for the character Allison Poole in his novel, The Story of My Life, McInerney said.

Hunter has denied both an affair with Edwards and the suggestion that he is the father of her child.

“I have no idea who you’re talking about or what you’re talking about,” she told the Enquirer in December when one of its reporters asked if she had had an affair with Edwards. Last month, the Enquirer reported that Edwards had met with Hunter and the baby in Los Angeles on July 21.

Elizabeth Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2004.

In March 2007, she and her husband announced that her cancer had returned. The cancer was described as not curable, but treatable, and Edwards continued to campaign with her husband.

John Edwards announced his campaign for president on Dec. 2006. He suspended his campaign on Jan. 30, 2008, after having fared badly in primaries.

In Newsweek.com today, Mark Hosenball reports that Edwards insisted that tonight’s ABC “World News Tonight” and “Nightline” interview be conducted by Bob Woodruff, the former ABC anchor who was seriously injured while reporting in Iraq.

ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross and producer Rhonda Schwartz wrote the version of the story first posted on ABCNews.com.

Full text of Edwards’ statement.

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