Prospective jurors head to court in North Carolina on Thursday to find out whether they'll be chosen to sit in judgment of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards.
Only four years ago, Edwards was running for the White House as a Democratic candidate. Now, he's a defendant, fighting campaign finance charges that could send him away for as long as 30 years.
Edwards rose to the top of the Democratic political elite as a blond, blue-eyed son of a mill worker made good. But that wholesome image curdled after people found out Edwards had an affair and fathered a baby with his mistress while his wife was fighting cancer; his wife later died.
"John Edwards is a despicable and loathsome human being, but that doesn't also make him a criminal," says Melanie Sloan of the nonprofit group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.