Mistress tells her side of John Edwards' affair in book

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina Mon Jun 18, 2012 1:15pm EDT

Former U.S. Senator John Edwards exits the courthouse with daughter, Cate Edwards (L) after the jury reached a verdict at the federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina May 31, 2012. REUTERS/John Adkisson

Former U.S. Senator John Edwards exits the courthouse with daughter, Cate Edwards (L) after the jury reached a verdict at the federal courthouse in Greensboro, North Carolina May 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Adkisson

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WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' former mistress, writes in her new book that the two-time presidential candidate told her he had at least two previous affairs and also fabricated three other relationships so she would not become too attached, ABC News reported.

Hunter's book, "What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me," is set to be released on June 26. It follows Edwards' federal trial in North Carolina, which ended in May with an acquittal on one campaign finance charge and a mistrial on five others after the jury deadlocked.

The Justice Department announced last week that it would not re-try the former U.S. senator.

Edwards, 59, was accused of seeking more than $900,000 from two wealthy supporters to conceal Hunter and her pregnancy with his child from voters during his unsuccessful bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination four years ago.

At the time, Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer. She died in December 2010.

ABC News said it had obtained a copy of Hunter's book, in which she defends John Edwards' innocence in the criminal case while also revealing that he had affairs with at least two other women prior to 2004.

Hunter said Edwards made up three additional mistresses - supposedly in Chicago, Los Angeles and Florida - during the early part of their relationship, which began after they met at a New York City hotel in February 2006, because he did not want Hunter to become too attached to him.

She said Edwards told her he had broken up with the fake mistresses before conceding that he had fabricated them.

Hunter wrote that Edwards confessed to having the other affairs but that he led her to believe that she was the last.

Hunter blames Elizabeth Edwards for driving John Edwards to cheat. She describes Elizabeth Edwards in unflattering terms, calling her "crazy," "venomous," and a "witch on wheels."

Hunter said she regretted allowing John Edwards' political aide, Andrew Young, to publicly claim paternity for the daughter Edwards had fathered.

"Of all the things that happened in my relationship with Johnny the thing that I regret the most is going along with this stupid idea and allowing this lie to go public," Hunter wrote, according to ABC News.

Edwards eventually admitted the child was his.

Hunter later sued Young over ownership of a video of her having sex with Edwards, which in her book she says she filmed at Edwards' request while traveling with him in Uganda.

Hunter said she wrote the book to provide her now 4-year-old daughter, Frances Quinn, with a truthful public account of "how she came into the world."

She writes that Edwards is involved in their daughter's life but does not shed much light on the current status of their relationship.

"I really have no idea what will happen with us," she wrote, according to ABC News. "The jury is still out. But I can honestly say that the ending is of no concern to me anymore. The love is here. And as sappy as it may sound, I love living in love."

(Reporting By Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bill Trott)

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