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John Edwards trial begins in North Carolina on campaign finance charges

The former presidential candidate's trial for alleged campaign finance violations opens in Greensboro, N.C. on Monday

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Former US senator John Edwards arrives at a memorial service for U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in August 2009 in Boston. (Chris Hondros/AFP/Getty Images)

Former presidential candidate John Edwards’ trial for alleged campaign finance violations opens Monday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The Los Angeles Times reported prosecutors contend Edwards accepted more than $900,000 in illegal contributions when he ran for president in 2008 and used the money to pay to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter.

He faces six criminal counts related to campaign finance violations and faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if found guilty.

At the time, he was a married father of three, whose late wife, Elizabeth, had breast cancer, Reuters wrote. Jurors will hear opening arguments Monday and the trial is expected to last at least six weeks.

Prosecutors say he did not report contributions from two wealthy benefactors, Rachel “Bunny’’ Mellon, a banking heiress from Virginia, and the late Fred Baron, a Texas lawyer.

“The charges against John Edwards in this case flow from his knowing and willful violation of the federal campaign finance laws,’’ prosecutors said in court filings, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors say this is a straightforward case since “A federal candidate may only accept and receive a limited amount of money from any one individual during an election cycle, and he must truthfully report the money he accepts and receives,’’ the department said a trial brief.

The law says candidates are only allowed to accept $2,300 from any one donor.

Edwards insists he broke no laws.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120422/john-edwards-trial-begins-campaign-finance-charg