John Edwards: I've Done Wrong – but Didn't Break the Law

John Edwards: I've Done Wrong – but Didn't Break the Law
John Edwards
Gerry Broome/AP

06/03/2011 AT 04:20 PM EDT

With his daughter Cate standing behind him, John Edwards spoke out Friday after pleading not guilty to using campaign money to cover up his mistress and love child.

"There is no question that I’ve done wrong," Edwards, 57, said outside the federal courthouse in Winston-Salem, N.C. "I take full responsibility for having done wrong. I will regret for the rest of my life the pain and the harm that I’ve caused to others. But I did not break the law, and I never, ever thought I was breaking the law."

A federal grand jury in North Carolina charged the former U.S. senator with breaking federal campaign finance laws while he was running for president in 2008.

Edwards arrived with Cate, 29, at the courthouse Friday afternoon, and made his first appearance before the U.S. District judge.

Prosecutors allege funds were paid to Rielle Hunter and onetime Edwards aide Andrew Young to cover up Edwards's affair with Hunter and the child they had together. Prosecutors claim the money came from political donors and should be considered campaign funds since they aided Edwards's presidential bid.

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