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Latarski: Illicit Conspiracy
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The trial of John Edwards - former everything, including senator, vice-presidential candidate, presidential candidate and Father of the Year - is getting underway in North Carolina.

Edwards is facing charges of conspiracy, receiving illegal campaign contributions and giving false statements.

There could have been more but being an unmitigated swine is not against the law.

In case you forgot, these charges stem from Edwards reportedly using campaign money to help hide an affair during which he fathered a child with his mistress while his wife was battling cancer.

Apparently cheating on your wife is the only issue remaining that both sides can agree on. And being so stupid as to get caught is now becoming a prerequisite for office.

And this guy didn't even work for the Secret Service, although if any of the agents in Colombia shenanigans worked on his security detail we may know where they got their training.

Edwards even convinced a friend - I guess he would now be a former friend - to claim the illegitimate child was his in hopes of hiding the business from his wife. I'm sure keeping it a secret from the voters never entered his mind.

The mistress in the affair is on the witness list for both the defense and the prosecution, which should make for some entertaining testimony.

The defense is attempting to claim the money, approximately $925,000, was a gift from friends he used to try and keep the affair quiet from his wife and really didn't have anything to do with his campaign for office.

And a feeble attempt is being made to suggest that what Edwards did was no worse than what a lot of other lying, two-face, adulterous, cheating husband politicians have done.

While they may be right regarding the nature of the conduct, the issue of possibly using campaign funds to try and cover up the indiscretions does make a difference since this may be a violation of Federal law and not just the marriage vow.

Edwards faces one count of conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of giving false statements.

I suspect there is a good chance he will not be convicted on the giving false statements. After all, the guy is a politician so that is more a way of life than aberrant behavior.

As for the money being a gift, Edwards is the kind of guy if you gave him $925,000 and he wasn't having an affair he would go start one.

The fact Edwards is a despicable slimy guy with DNA that has scales does not prohibit him from being elected to public office. There are some who may consider that to be a requirement.

And there is every reason to believe if Edwards has any morals they are of a reptilian nature.

But the potentially criminal aspect of his conduct, unlike that of a long list of notorious politician womanizers, makes this business different.

A conviction and the notion of how you can spend campaign contributions, even what may be considered a campaign contribution, suddenly becomes a political issue like a song on the hit parade with a bullet.

Financial lawyers will become more important on the staff of candidates for public office than the spin doctors hired to explain why a candidate didn't say what he said.

And even if the court rules in Edwards' favor the ramifications over campaign contributions could still undergo a dramatic examination resulting in an overhaul of the system that needs overhauling but has somehow become immune to common sense.

Edwards may not be proven guilty of any criminal misconduct and when this is over may emerge as just another lying, sleazy politician who believed he could make up his own rules.

Or Edwards could be convicted and go to jail while, in the tradition of Ron Blagojevich, claiming his innocence all the way to prison.

If Edwards does beat the criminal rap he will probably need a job to help pay off his lawyers.

Too bad the University of Arkansas just hired a football coach. Edwards may have been the perfect fit.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at