Jury selection to begin John Edwards’ trial

John Edwards Mugshot (CNN/U.S. Marshals Service)

(CNN) — Jury selection begins in a Greensboro, North Carolina, federal courtroom Thursday in the trial of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Edwards is charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to the money dealings of his failed 2008 campaign.

Rielle Hunter, his former mistress, is expected to testify at the trial.

A major issue in the approaching trial is whether money given to support Hunter, by the then-candidate’s benefactors should have been considered donations toward his presidential campaign.

Edwards maintains the money was a gift.

Edwards is accused of conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws. He denies any wrongdoing.

If convicted on all counts, Edwards could face 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.

His attorneys have claimed the investigation and prosecution are politically motivated, and the charges do not clearly establish any violation of election law.

Edwards was Sen. John Kerry’s running mate on the 2004 Democratic presidential ticket.

His wife, Elizabeth, died of cancer in December 2010. The couple had separated that year, shortly after Edwards admitted that he had fathered a daughter with Hunter, who was hired to make documentary videos for his 2008 campaign.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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