When John Edwards faced the prospect of an indictment that could put him behind bars, he calmly told his mistress he would probably wind up in a low-security prison in Virginia more like a country club than a jail. She quickly told him she and their daughter would move there to be near him if that happened.
Rielle Hunter details their phone call just days before his indictment in her new memoir, purchased by the Associated Press ahead of its release.
“What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter and Me” also includes Ms. Hunter’s mixed views on MR. Edwards‘ parenting of their daughter, Quinn, and descriptions of Elizabeth Edwards‘ outbursts. At the end of the book, Ms. Hunter says she still has romantic feelings for Mr. Edwards but doesn’t know how their relationship will turn out.
The book also provides a window into Mr. Edwards‘ psyche as federal prosecutors began their case against him. Days before his indictment, Ms. Hunter asked: “So if you went to jail, what kind of jail would it be? One of those country clubs?”
“He said, ‘Yeah.’”
“‘Where?’” she asked.
“So Quinn and I will move to Virginia. Virginia is a great state.”
The only low-security federal prison in Virginia is in Petersburg, where former Washington Mayor Marion Barry once served time.
On the day of the indictment, the two shared a surreal phone call as a newspaper reporter banged on her door in Charlotte, while the man she refers to as “Johnny” throughout the book called her cellphone to say that he was also being pursued.
“‘I’ve got helicopters circling my house,’ Johnny said.”
New York publishers said they were not interested in Ms. Hunter’s book, citing her negative image, so it is instead being released through a Dallas-based boutique publisher, BenBella Books, on June 26.
Federal prosecutors spent a year prosecuting Mr. Edwards, culminating in a six-week trial that ended last month. Jurors acquitted Mr. Edwards on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and deadlocked on five other felony counts. The judge declared a mistrial. Federal prosecutors then said in a court order earlier this month that they wouldn’t retry Mr. Edwards, and the charges against him were dropped.
Prosecutors accused Mr. Edwards, 59, of masterminding a scheme to use about $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy political donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.