The Edwards Scandal 5 Key Questions
With Lorenzo Benet
09/01/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT
1 IS JOHN EDWARDS TELLING THE TRUTH?
The Democratic presidential candidate fessed up Aug. 8 to a "short" affair with Rielle Hunter, 44, but said he did not father her baby. A friend of Hunter's casts doubt: According to Texas music publicist Pigeon O'Brien, Edwards was seeing Hunter in February 2006—five months before he hired her for his campaign—and continued the affair on and off after his wife Elizabeth's cancer returned in March 2007.
2 WHERE IS RIELLE HUNTER?
Two days before Edwards' TV mea culpa, Hunter and daughter Frances boarded a Learjet in Oxnard, Calif., en route to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Kim Eggleston, who owns the chartered jet. "She was nervous and wondering whether she had been followed," Eggleston says. The plane stopped in Mobile, Ala., where Hunter picked up a passport for her infant daughter.
3 WHO FATHERED HUNTER'S BABY?
Former Edwards campaign staffer Andrew Young, 42, married with three kids, claimed last year he is the child's father (though Hunter listed no dad's name on the birth certificate). Young had been an Edwards aide since '99. "He was a loyal guy," says an ex-neighbor in North Carolina. "He was hoping Edwards was going to be President."
4 WHO HUSHED UP THE AFFAIR?
Dallas attorney Fred Baron, an Edwards fund-raiser, says he paid for Young and Hunter to relocate to Santa Barbara to escape the press. "He is a billionaire and he would do anything to save Elizabeth the heartache," said a Democratic campaign advisor.
5 HOW IS ELIZABETH?
She hasn't appeared in public since the scandal broke. She and her husband are due to speak in Salem, Mass., on Sept. 23.