- (Photo: Reuters / Rick Wilking)
An attorney for former North Carolina Senator and two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is denying his involvement with a prostitution ring in New York City.
Edwards, who as a result of his affair with his former videographer during his failed 2008 presidential campaign, has been the subject of intense legal scrutiny in both his personal and political life. Edwards is currently awaiting trial on charges he violated campaign finance laws to pay for the expenses of his then mistress, Rielle Hunter.
"Mr. Edwards categorically denies that he was involved with any prostitute or service," said Allison Van Laningham, an attorney who represents Edwards. "These allegations are false, defamatory, and he puts those who would punish or repeat them on notice that they acting with actual malice by reporting or repeating them. He has demanded a complete retraction from the only source being quoted."
Edwards' name was revealed in a DNA Info story about the accused "Millionaire Madam," Anna Gristina. Supposedly a prostitute who worked for Gristina told investigators she was paid to have sex with Edwards while he was campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president in 2007.
The attorney for Edwards says the story is unfounded because it is based on unnamed sources. The woman also told investigators she had no idea who Edwards was at the time and "put it together after the fact."
Apparently Edwards is the first "big" name to surface in the on-going investigation of Gristina's alleged prostitution ring that was operated from an Upper East Side apartment.
The single, one-night stand apparently took place Upper East Side hotel suite and was arranged by an Edwards's aide with assistance from a New York resident that had knowledge of the operation.
DNAinfo, which first broke the story on their website Thursday morning, is standing by the story and their unnamed source.
Most of the women don't have any idea about the identities of the men they sleep with," the source revealed to DNAinfo. "How would they know a money man from Wall Street or the face of a lawyer or banker who shows up? But the face of the national politician? She knew."
The investigation of Gristina began after a woman in her 20's was arrested for an unrelated charge and then revealed she worked as a high-end prostitute for a "Millionaire Madam" who bragged of having law enforcement and other powerful people protect her.
Edwards was indicted in June of 2011 for misusing campaign funds and making false statements to federal authorities. His trial was set to begin in January, but was delayed because of a heart condition. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The investigation revealed that he used more than $1 million in campaign funds to hide the affair with Hunter. The pair also had an out of wedlock child in 2008 that Edwards later admitted was his.
Edwards has not been charged in the prostitution case and most likely never would be since such cases are difficult to prove without tangible evidence.