Relatives of a wealthy donor who gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to former presidential candidate John Edwards were subpoenaed to appear Friday before a federal grand jury investigating his campaign finances.
Alexander Forger, the New York-based attorney for Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, told The Associated Press that Mellon's son, two grandsons and one of the grandson's wives were at the federal courthouse in Raleigh. Forger did not know whether they had actually testified. Mellon, who turned 100 in August, was not there.
Grand jurors have been looking into Edwards' campaign finances for more than a year. The former Democratic senator ran for president in 2004 and 2008.
Earlier this year, former aide Andrew Young claimed in a tell-all book that he and Edwards agreed in 2007 to ask Mellon for money and use it to keep Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter happy so she would not go public with their relationship. Forger has said Mellon made a personal gift, filed proper tax paperwork and had no idea how the money would be used.
Hunter gave birth to a child that Edwards later acknowledged he had fathered. Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, have since separated.
Young has said he helped take care of Hunter near the end of Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign and for months afterward. He said he received hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from Mellon, a philanthropist and widow of banking heir Paul Mellon, and from Edwards campaign finance manager Fred Baron, who died last year.
Through the corporate entity that holds her assets, Bunny Mellon gave at least $495,000 to a labor-backed campaign group that ran ads for Edwards' campaign. She also gave to the Edwards campaign directly.
Forger said Friday he didn't think testimony by her relatives would be useful to prosecutors.
Forger said he believes "they know nothing about the Edwards campaign. They only know that their mother and grandmother was supporting him, as was the entire local community."
Mellon lives in northern Virginia and has been interviewed twice there by federal prosecutors and agents, according to Forger.
Edwards has said previously he is confident no campaign funds were used improperly.
Forger said the subpoenas were issued to Mellon's son, Stacy Lloyd III; his two sons, Stacy Lloyd IV and Thomas Lloyd; and Rickie Lloyd, Thomas Lloyd's wife.
- federal grand jury
- John Edwards
- Andrew Young
- Paul Mellon