Edwards trial delayed because of heart condition

A federal judge today postponed the criminal trial of John Edwards because the former Democratic presidential candidate has a "life-threatening" condition that requires surgery.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles granted Edwards' motion for a delay, after revealing she has two letters from a cardiologist about his condition. Eagles pushed back the trial to at least March 26.

The 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee is charged with breaking campaign-finance laws to cover up his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter.

The Edwards legal team filed a motion before Christmas seeking the delay because of what was then an undisclosed medical condition. The trial date had been pushed back twice to give Edwards time to attend the wedding of his eldest daughter, Cate, and to prepare his defense.

"The public has an interest in a speedy trial, and this case has already been continued twice," Eagles said, according to the Associated Press. "Ordinarily, I would try to manage something like this. But clearly there are some limitations on Mr. Edwards due to real and serious health issues."

The AP reported Edwards was in the Greensboro, N.C. courtroom and appeared healthy. Eagles had said the cardiologist wrote that that Edwards should avoid driving and travel, including to the court.

Edwards is charged with accepting about $1 million from campaign donors to hide his affair with Hunter, who is the mother of his daughter, Frances Quinn. He had initially denied paternity.

Edwards has admitted he has done wrong but did not break any laws.

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