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John Edwards' Donor Bunny Mellon: 'He Would Have Been A Great President'

Jul 25, 2011

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Frank James

Bunny Mellon, the 100-year old wealthy benefactor of John Edwards, the former Democratic senator from North Carolina, was interviewed by Meryl Gordon for Newsweek. It was Mellon's first lengthy interview in years, apparently.

In a passage from the article that's gotten noticed, Mellon expresses her continued fondness for Edwards. It also turns out she didn't like Elizabeth Edwards, estranged from the 2004 vice presidential nominee at the time of her death from cancer last year.

An excerpt:

Through it all, she remains an enthusiastic defender of the former North Carolina senator. "He would have been a great president," insists Mellon, who has been interviewed by the FBI but is not expected to testify. "He and I were great friends. Every time he'd go on a debate against Hillary, he'd call and we'd talk...I was so surprised when this thing came up." Stressing that her sympathies have always been with Edwards rather than his wife, who died last year from cancer, she confides, "You know that John had a hard time with Elizabeth." Mellon's lawyer Alex Forger elaborates further on his client's attitude: "She was not enamored of his wife and didn't want his wife to know that he was getting money."

Edwards has been indicted for allegedly violating federal campaign-finance laws related to $725,000 he received from Mellon. Prosecutors say Edwards used the money to try and conceal Rielle Hunter and the child that resulted from her affair with Edwards.

While the Mellon matriarch feels charitably towards Edwards, a grandson most decidedly doesn't. Another excerpt:

The Edwards episode has baffled and upset Mellon's family. "I wish I could have 10 minutes in a room with John Edwards to explain that he's doing nothing but tarnish her legacy and really taking advantage of her," says Thomas Lloyd, her grandson, who testified before the grand jury.

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