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Fallen US political star Edwards splits with mistress

  • 26 Jun 2012
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Former US presidential hopeful John Edwards

Former US presidential hopeful John Edwards and his mistress have split up just days after charges were dropped against him for misuse of campaign funds to hide their affair.

Rielle Hunter, 48, who has published an autobiography of the liaison which buried forever Edwards's White House dreams, told ABC they had separated.

"As of the end of last week John Edwards and I are no longer a couple. Not at all," Hunter, who has a four-year-old daughter, Quinn, by the former Democratic political star, told ABC television.

She said she was "no longer interested in hiding, hiding our relationship."

"I don't know if you've noticed, but we've had a lot of media scrutiny. It's complicated and it's hard. It wears you down after a while," Hunter added.

During the six-week trial of the 59-year-old Edwards, prosecutors and defense attorneys laid bare his extramarital affair with videographer Hunter.

Edwards hired Hunter to assist his presidential campaign, and then lied about their affair to his wife Elizabeth, as she fought an ultimately fatal battle against cancer.

Edwards had faced up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of intentionally using funds from two wealthy donors to hide his affair for political reasons. He has maintained his innocence.

But the North Carolina jury deadlocked on five campaign finance fraud charges, leading the judge to declare a mistrial, and acquitted Edwards on another. The Justice Department has now dropped the charges.

Hunter said that if she had to do it all over again, she would not.

"Would I do that again? No way. Absolutely not," she said.

In her book "What really happened, John Edwards, Our daughter and Me" which was published Tuesday, Hunter said she wanted "to tell the truth."

The two began their affair in 2006 just months before Edwards -- with his wife by his side -- announced his bid to run for the White House in 2008. But Hunter claims she was not his first mistress, and that he had had at least two other lovers before her.

Edwards had desperately tried to hide the affair, and even once it was public denied Quinn was his daughter, getting one of his aides to claim paternity of the child.

Elizabeth Edwards, who had a devoted following of fans and was much loved by the US public, had known about the affair with Hunter but thought it was over.

Despite her reputation for poise and elegance, Hunter described Elizabeth Edwards as "crazy, venomous" in her book.

"The public persona of John Edwards and Elizabeth Edwards -- and me, for that matter -- are so wrong," Hunter writes in her book.

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