Monday, August 18, 2008

John Edwards Cover-up: Press Releases a Carefully-Orchestrated Affair?

Three Press Releases
An Orchestra of Remarkable, Similarly-Worded Statements

* John Edwards * Elizabeth Edwards * Fred Baron

Who Discussed What with Whom When?

DBKP took a look at the statements released by John and Elizabeth Edwards, and Edwards' money man, Fred Baron. Their three statements never mention Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter. Instead, all three refer to her and her child as "mistakes".

We found some curious features in the press releases of the principals involved. In December, 2007, there were many curious features about the John Edwards' scandal that excited no curiosity among the Mainstream Media. [Curious Circumstances Excite No Curiosity in the Mainstream Media]

August 2008 is a completely different ballgame, however.

Let's take a look at these curious features.

[Background information: access over 90 DBKP stories on the John Edwards scandal and cover-up: DBKP John Edwards Love Child Scandal Library.]


For convenience, the statements of John and Elizabeth Edwards will be examined first.

John Edwards went into seclusion after a July 30 speech in Washington, D.C., when reporters attempted to question Edwards about his confrontation with reporters from the National Enquirer. [John Edwards Scandal: Edwards Bolts from Reporters Once Again]

He then had the better part of ten days to craft his statement, which he released on August 8 before his appearance on ABC's Nightline. Elizabeth Edwards also released a statement on August 8 on the website, DailyKos.

"2006" was prominent in the opening part of John Edwards' statement: he used it three times in the first eight sentences.

In 2006, I made a serious error in judgment and conducted myself in a way that was disloyal to my family and to my core beliefs. I recognized my mistake and I told my wife that I had a liaison with another woman, and I asked for her forgiveness. Although I was honest in every painful detail with my family, I did not tell the public. When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it. But being 99 percent honest is no longer enough.

I was and am ashamed of my conduct and choices, and I had hoped that it would never become public. With my family, I took responsibility for my actions in 2006 and today I take full responsibility publicly. But that misconduct took place for a short period in 2006.

"2006" played a key part in Elizabeth Edwards' statement, too. She referred to the year four times.

"John made a terrible mistake in 2006."

"And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007."

"The pain of the long journey since 2006 was about to be renewed."

"But now the truth is out, and the repair work that began in 2006 will continue."

The Edwards don't say when in 2006; apparently, from the photo DBKP obtained on August 15, it had to have begun on December 31.

The picture is backstage at a rally in Chapel Hill, NC that ended on the evening of December 30. As LBG pointed out in John and Elizabeth Edwards: New Info Casts Doubt on Couple’s Claim Affair Ended in 2006:

It’s clear in the photo that Hunter is there in her “official” capacity, capturing the event for use in the documentaries she was allegedly producing for the Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign. Not only was Hunter there in Chapel Hill on the evening of December 30, but she was also along with Edwards at the end of 2006 on his “Presidential Announcement Tour” which culminated on the evening of December 30 in North Carolina.

According to the Washington Post, Hunter was along when Edwards filmed his Youtube announcement in New Orleans on December 28. Hunter was by no means, “hidden”, as she was photographed and seen by various people in the course of the “trip”.

On December 31, 2006 the Edwards also had a busy day.

The next morning, the last day of 2006, the Edwards were interviewed on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos“. Remember, the night before Rielle Hunter was still in the picture, captured in photos filming the Chapel Hill event. In one photo Hunter can be seen along with John and Elizabeth Edwards.


The discovery of Hunter’s appearance in Chapel Hill on the evening of December 30 raises some questions about the timeline posited by both John and Elizabeth Edwards as to when the affair truly ended, when Edwards confessed, and when the “repair” work began.

On the morning of December 31, Edwards described his wife to Stephanopoulus as someone who was not only “meek and mild” but “very strong-willed”. Hardly the sort of person, who, upon learning her husband had an affair, would allow the “other woman” to hang around her husband, even in an “official” capacity. Hunter was photographed filming the Chapel Hill event. Elizabeth was fully aware Hunter was there. In fact, Hunter was on the plane, along with other campaign staffers and various other people for the presidential “pre-announcement” trip that led up to the Chapel Hill event.

If Edwards hadn’t yet confessed to the “awful truth” that he was cheating on Elizabeth with Hunter by December 30, then the clock was ticking down to the end of 2006. By the time the Chapel Hill event ended, Edwards had less than 26 hours to tell his wife.

Besides the repetition of "2006", the word "mistake" is also repeated: thrice by Elizabeth ("terrible mistake", "mistake" and "mistakes") and twice by John Edwards ("serious error", "mistake", as well as "misconduct").

There seems little doubt about the careful coordination between the Edwards' two statements.

If it is learned, at some future date, that December 31, 2006, was indeed when John Edwards "first began revealing the truth", this is not the impression that the Edwards left after reading their statements.


Others will have to speculate at the present moment. DBKP may well do so later.


From John Edwards' statement:

I only know that the apparent father has said publicly that he is the father of the baby. I also have not been engaged in any activity of any description that requested, agreed to or supported payments of any kind to the woman or to the apparent father of the baby.

During John Edwards' appearance that same day on ABC's Nightline, he again repeated his denial of his knowledge of any money being paid.

Uh, this is what I can tell you. I've never paid a dime of money to any of the people that are involved. I've never asked anybody to pay a dime of money, never been told that any money's been paid. Nothing has been done at my request. So if the allegation is that somehow I participated in the payment of money -- that is a lie. An absolute lie, which is typical of these types of publications.

Later in the same interview, Edwards was insistent.

WOODRUFF: I do need to tell you though through ABC investigation there has been evidence, or we've been told that there, about $15,000 a month has been paid to Miss Hunter, so that she could actually live out in California. In fact that money was from Fred Baron, who was your national finance chair. Is that correct?

EDWARDS: I don't know. I told you just a moment ago, I know absolutely nothing about this.

WOODRUFF: You never even heard about that before?

EDWARDS: I've heard about it from reporters like you just in the last few days. It's the first I hear anything about it.

The next exchange between Edwards and ABC's Bob Woodruff is particularly curious.

WOODRUFF: So when you see this now and you see the reporting about it and you see the information about it, are you going to try to look into this? That this is somebody doing this to cover up what happened with your affair?

EDWARDS: If you're talking about Fred Baron, I do know Fred Baron. I also know that Fred Baron knows both of these people who are involved and has worked with them for years. So he has the relationship with them independent of me. So what he chose to do or not do, I can't explain, he'll have to explain. I don't know what he did or why he did it. And what his reasons for, were, for doing it. Is it possible that he wanted to help them because they were in a difficult time? Of course. Is it possible that he was worried that in fact something had happened with me, and he wanted to help? Of course that's possible. I think all these things are possible.

WOODRUFF: Do you think it's possible he was trying to protect you?

EDWARDS: Do I think it was possible he was trying to help me?


EDWARDS: Yeah, of course I think it's possible.

[Note: We'll leave aside for the moment, Edwards' claim that Fred Baron worked with Hunter and Young "for years". Baron did work with Andrew Young for more than a year. Rielle Hunter's involvement with the campaign, by her own statement of October 2007, states that her work with the campaign ended at the end of 2006--a period of only six months that Baron could have "worked" with her.

Unless Baron hired her afterwards, which has not been reported--and which neither Baron nor Hunter have mentioned in any public statements.]

Woodruff lets Edwards change the question--without follow-up: from "protect" to "help". Edwards uses the word "help" three times in that short exchange. Why might he have done that?

Perhaps, Edwards was trying to help his finance chair, Fred Baron, with his statement, which would be delivered with minutes of John and Elizabeth Edwards' statements.

At that time, Baron stated spontaneously--and without consulting John Edwards-- that his magnanimous gestures toward Andrew Young and Rielle Hunter stemmed from his need to "help.

"I decided independently to help two friends and former colleagues rebuild their lives when harassment by supermarket tabloids made it impossible for them to conduct a normal life," Baron, a Dallas trial lawyer said in a statement, Rob Christensen reports.

"John Edwards was not aware that assistance was provided to anyone involved in this matter," Baron said. "I did it of my own voilition and without the knowledge, instruction, or suggestion of John Edwards or anyone else. The assistance was offered and accepted without condition."

Later the following day, August 9, it was reported that Baron stated, "I made a decision on my own, without talking to Edwards or anybody, to try to help them move to a community to try to get away from those folks."

"I feel sad because I know John Edwards so well," Mr. Baron said. "In life we all make mistakes. ... It breaks my heart if this is going to disqualify him from being a public servant, because he would be a great one."

Mr. Baron said he had also talked to Mrs. Edwards.

"It's a hard time," he said. "This has been a trying couple of weeks."

Baron also used the word "mistake" to refer to John Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter, just as John and Elizabeth Edwards' both did.

Baron admitted talking to Elizabeth Edwards, but not John Edwards, who he knew "so well". John and Elizabeth Edwards were apparently talking, and consulting, with each other while preparing their statements. But, what were they all talking about?

Apparently, if John Edwards and Fred Baron are to be believed, they were discussing anything but the mistake which had them all preparing statements in the first place: Rielle Hunter and her living arrangements.

Oh, and the living arrangements of long-time Edwards' aide and operative, Andrew Young and his family. Nothing was discussed about him, either.

All three--the two Edwards and Fred Baron--were busy preparing carefully-worded statements which were all released within minutes of each other on August 8, concerning events extremely important to all three of them. Yet, one of the central subjects--the "hush money" the Enquirer reported on July 30 was being paid to both Hunter and Young--never came up.

Baron also apparently forgot to mention to the Edwards that an Enquirer reporter showed up asking questions at his Dallas estate four days earlier, on August 4.

Three lawyers, taking days to meticulously prepare statements about explosive events in their lives and the subjects of Rielle Hunter, where she was, where and how she was living, and the questions sure to asked about "hush money", were never broached.

Baron's help, and John Edwards suggestion to Woodruff that perhaps Baron was helping, were the product, not of consultation or conversations between seasoned attorneys, but were--like so many events in the Edwards' cover-up story--just another set of curiously-striking coincidences.

by Mondoreb
images: corbis; dbkp

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