January 14, 2012 in Nation/World

Judge: Edwards has heart ailment

Michael Biesecker Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

John Edwards leaves a federal courthouse after a hearing in Greensboro, N.C., last month.
(Full-size photo)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Ex-presidential candidate John Edwards has a serious heart condition that will require a medical procedure next month, and his illness limits his travel including for an upcoming court case over possible campaign violations, his doctor told a judge, who delayed the trial.

Federal Judge Catherine Eagles did not disclose the exact nature of Edwards’ illness Friday or what procedure he needed. However, she said the two-time presidential candidate had “three episodes” and indicated his condition could be life-threatening if left untreated.

A cardiologist for the 58-year-old ex-North Carolina senator wrote two letters about his condition to Eagles, who talked about them during a hearing to consider whether the trial on six felony and misdemeanor counts should begin this month. Eagles said jury selection will now start March 26, at the earliest.

Edwards is taking medication and is scheduled to undergo a procedure in February from which it will take several days to recover, Eagles said. She did not describe what the episodes involved or if the procedure would require unclogging arteries or other common treatments. The doctor’s letters and other medical records have been kept under seal by the court.

“The public has an interest in a speedy trial,” Eagles said from the bench. “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.”

His doctor had recommended he not drive or travel, but at the judge’s request, Edwards was in court. He didn’t appear to have any outward signs of illness, though he was without his usual quick smile or bounce in his step.

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