In the American Thinker today, Russ Vaughn addresses exactly the question I had about John Edwards’ purported fessing up — aka the otherwise very modified limited hangout that he dubbed a definitive statement (“I have given a complete interview on this matter and having done so, will have nothing more to say”) and served up to ABC’s Nightline for the instruction of any of the four billion people not watching the opening ceremonies of the XXIX Olympiad.
Of course one more lie from a lying liar who told so many others wouldn’t be a surprise. But even though there are some phrases with a nagging hint o’whopper about them (“I am and have been willing” — emphasis added), the language does seem pretty wiggle-proof:
I am and have been willing to take any test necessary to establish the fact that I am not the father of any baby, and I am truly hopeful that a test will be done so this fact can be definitively established.
Yeah right. “Truly hopeful” and $2 will get you a ride on a New York subway. And Mr. Vaughn —with an assist from Mrs. Vaughn— explains the loophole the size of a Yosemite canyon that lies between Senator Edwards and that for which he says he hopes.
And just to make sure we believe him, John threw it right out there on the table that he’s more than willing to take a paternity test to prove he’s not the father. Now I must admit to a bit of consternation upon hearing that, wondering what kind of lawyer trick this was. Then my lovely bride of forty years, who was also a certified legal assistant in the employ of numerous trial lawyers for thirty years, pointed out the obvious: you need a complainant to make John’s bold proffer meaningful in any way.
She went on to explain, as that little light bulb was going on over my head, that Edwards could take all the paternity tests in the world but if there is no matching test obtained from the child in question, there would be nothing to match it to. And then I began to understand why this guy was able to get tens of millions of dollars out corporate coffers. If there is no complainant, meaning Ms. Hunter, seeking to establish legal paternity, then wherefrom will come the genetic materials to be used in the testing/matching process?
There is no father listed on the birth certificate so that makes Ms. Hunter the sole legal representative of the baby, and the only person who can submit that child for genetic testing to obtain a possible matching sample. And is Ms. Hunter likely to do that when she considers the possibility that she may someday be Mrs. Edwards, wife of one of the wealthiest trial attorneys in America? And there are news reports that she has indeed alluded to such a future with Mr. Silky Pony when he is no longer matrimonially encumbered.
Now I suppose there might be provisions under California law that would permit involuntary testing in a paternity suit if there were compelling public interests at stake but we have neither a complainant nor a compelling public interest here. What we do have, in my opinion, is a very slick demonstration of lawyering skills being applied by a man so unslick as to allow himself to be cornered in a public restroom by a bunch of reporters and photographers at the scene of the slime.
UPDATE: It’s now 6 PM on Saturday —several hours after this post was published— and the Washington Post has just reported a story by Lois Romano and Howard Kurtz headlined: “Edwards’s Ex-Mistress Will Not Pursue Paternity Test”.
Rielle Hunter, the former presidential campaign aide who had an affair with John Edwards, said yesterday that she will not pursue DNA testing to establish the paternity of her 5-month-old daughter, despite the former senator’s offer to participate in such a test.
In a statement provided to The [sic] Washington Post, Hunter said through her attorney that she would not take a genetic test “now or in the future.”