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Edwards Favorability Ratings Plummet As Corruption Trial Begins

Edwards Favorability Ratings Plummet As Corruption Trial Begins

Disgraced former presidential candidate John Edwards is viewed favorably by only 3 percent of Americans, according to a new poll released just as his corruption trial is set to begin Monday.

The former North Carolina senator has seen his favorability fall dramatically since he last ran for public office in 2008. Edwards is now standing trial on campaign finance corruption charges related to his affair with a campaign aide while his wife Elizabeth was stricken with breast cancer.

The poll by CBS News and the New York Times sampled 957 people from April 13 to 17, finding only 3 percent of respondents approved of Edwards. That is down from 30 percent in 2007, when Edwards was running for president. He was also the 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Edwards' unfavorable ratings are at 41 percent, up from 30 percent in 2007. Among women, Edwards was viewed favorably by only two percent of respondents, with 45 percent viewing him unfavorably.

Edwards consistently denied any affair with his aide, Rielle Hunter, but later acknowledged it as well as the paternity of a child that Hunter had. His wife Elizabeth died in December 2010.

With the corruption trial beginning early next week, Edwards is accused of accepting about $900,000 in campaign contributions which were allegedly funneled to Hunter and used to conceal the affair from his wife.

Jury selection in the trial took up most of last week, with Judge Catherine Eagles predicting a six-week-long trial. If convicted of all six criminal charges, Edwards could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison as well as $1.5 million in fines. He has maintained his innocence, claiming that the donations were a gift and not a campaign contribution.

by RTT Staff Writer

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