(CN) – Former Sen. John Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury in North Carolina today (Friday) for allegedly taking illegal presidential campaign contributions while carrying on his much-publicized affair.
Edwards, 58, a two-time presidential hopeful, faces six counts all together that each carry maximum five-year prison sentences and $250,000 fines.
Between 2007 and 2008, while Edwards was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, he accepted $900,000 in illegal campaign contributions as part of an effort to conceal his ongoing affair with Rielle Hunter, according to the indictment.
Edwards allegedly used these funds to cover living, medical and travel expenses for Hunter, a former campaign aide who ultimately revealed that Edwards had fathered her daughter. Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, died of breast cancer in December 2010.
“Edwards knew that the public revelation of the affair and pregnancy would undermine his image and force his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny,” according to a statement from the Justice Department.
Johnny Reid Edwards was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the federal campaign finance laws and to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission; four counts of accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions from two donors in 2007 and 2008; and one count of concealing those illegal donations from the FEC.
The Middle District of North Carolina also issued an arrest warrant for the former North Carolina senator. Prosecutors say Edwards is scheduled appear in Winston-Salem federal court at 2:30 p.m. local time before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Auld.
Under the Federal Election Act in 2008, Edwards faced a $2,300 cap on any donation from any one person and should have disclosed any contribution of more than $200.