August 10, 2008 in Nation/World

Former Edwards aide rules out paternity test

By Lois Romano and Howard Kurtz Washington Post
The Spokesman-Review photo

(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – Rielle Hunter, the former presidential campaign aide who had an affair with John Edwards, said Saturday 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.

Hunter said through her attorney that she will not be party to such a test “now or in the future.”

The attorney, Robert Gordon, called Hunter a private person who is “not running for public office” and would not comment further.

“She wishes to maintain her privacy and her daughter’s privacy,” he said in the statement. “Furthermore, Rielle will not participate in DNA testing or any other invasion of her or her daughter’s privacy now or in the future.”

If Hunter sticks to that position, it will ease the pressure on Edwards, who on Friday dropped his earlier denials and admitted to having an affair with Hunter in 2006 but denied being the father of the child.

Edwards, a Democrat who represented North Carolina, maintained in a statement that the affair ended too soon for him to have fathered her baby, Frances Quinn Hunter, who was born Feb. 27. Hunter and a former Edwards fundraiser, Andrew Young, have maintained that Young is the father.

“I would welcome participating in a paternity test,” Edwards told ABC’s Bob Woodruff on Friday.

ABC News reported on its Web site Saturday that Hunter’s younger sister, Melissa, said that Edwards should immediately follow through on his pledge to take a paternity test. The network did not use a last name for Melissa.

“Somebody must stand up and defend my sister,” she said. “I wish that those involved would refrain from bad-mouthing my sister.”

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