The 19-page indictment charges Edwards on six counts -- one count of conspiracy to violate federal campaign finance laws and to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission; four counts of accepting and receiving illegal campaign contributions from two donors and one count of concealing those illegal donations from the FEC.
"Mr. Edwards is alleged to have accepted more than $900,000 in an effort to conceal from the public facts that he believed would harm his candidacy," Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a statement. "As this indictment shows, we will not permit candidates for high office to abuse their special ability to access the coffers of their political supporters to circumvent our election laws."
The government's case hinges on somewhat of an untested legal theory: that the Edwards campaign centered on his image as a family man, and that the North Carolina Democrat had to hide his affair to maintain that image.
From the indictment:
The Justice Department said that Edwards and other individuals "conspired with other individuals to accept and receive campaign contributions in excess of limits imposed by the Federal Election Act in an effort to protect and advance his candidacy from disclosure of an ongoing extra-marital affair and the resulting pregnancy." They say he received more than $900,000 between 2007 and 2008.
Here's the indictment: