NBC News is reporting this morning that charges may be near in the marathon federal investigation of former Democratic U.S. Sen. John Edwards.
Prosecutors are believed to have been looking into whether Edwards, a former vice presidential candidate, violated campaign laws in covering up his affair with Rielle Hunter, a former campaign videographer who now lives in Charlotte.
The federal grand jury in Raleigh that's heard evidence in the case isn't scheduled to meet again until March. But NBC reported the 2-year-old investigation is at "a decisive point."
"Sources close to the investigation say Justice Department attorneys are now conducting a final review of evidence, and an indictment could come within days or weeks," the network said. "In what could be an ominous development for Edwards, prosecutors already are making arrangements to record the sworn
testimony of a key witness for possible use in a future trial, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"'It would be surprising now if he wasn't indicted,' said Stephen Saltsburg, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University law professor. 'If John Edwards was aware that the money was being paid to hide his mistress .... and it was done to help his campaign, then he's in trouble'."
Edwards attorney, Wade Smith of Raleigh, told NBC that he doesn't believe "there is evidence that John violated any election laws."
Prosecutors reportedly plan to record the testimony of 100-year-old Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. Former Edwards aide Andrew Young -- who once claimed paternity of Edwards' child with Hunter -- has written that the wealthy Mellon gave $700,000 that was used for Hunter's living expenses. He called it "Bunny money."