In a salacious cover story, the Jan. 17 issue of The National Enquirer reports that John Edwards has asked Rielle Hunter to marry him, citing unnamed sources.
“Heartless cheater defies Elizabeth’s dying wish,” screams the headline soon to be gracing supermarket checkout lines. “Rielle tells his two young kids: ‘CALL ME MOMMY!”
The report comes one month after the Dec. 7 death of Elizabeth Edwards.
Dome would not typically repeat unsourced reports from a tabloid magazine, but The Enquirer was the first to report the Edwards affair back in 2007 and the birth of the former presidential candidate's love child with his then mistress. Edwards publicly denied the affair and paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter, only to later admit both.
However, the Enquirer has also gotten it wrong. Last year, the tabloid reported that the two were planning to marry and had bought a $3.5 million luxury beachfront home. Spokespeople for Edwards quickly denied those reports.
Two people close to Edwards contacted by Dome on Friday declined to comment on-the-record about the new report that Edwards is engaged. Hunter professed her ongoing love for Edwards last year in an interview with GQ magazine.
Added to the mix is speculation about what, if any, impact such nuptials might have on a potential prosecution of Edwards.
Hunter has previously appeared before the federal grand jury in Raleigh investigating whether Edwards violated campaign finance laws by allowing two of his political supporters to provide financial support to a pregnant Hunter to keep the affair secret during his most recent run for president.
As recently as this week, others with ties to Edwards have been seen entering the federal courthouse while the grand jury was meeting. Chapel Hill businessman Michael Culcha, a friend and financial backer, testified Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Lisa Blue, the widow of the former Edwards campaign finance chairman Fred Baron, appeared Wednesday.