Ex-US Sen. John Edwards sets up new law firm

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Former U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is setting up a new law firm with his daughter and his former partner.

Edwards released a written statement Monday that he is reuniting with David Kirby to form the firm Edwards Kirby. Before Edwards embarked on his political career 15 years ago, he and Kirby won multi-million rulings while collaborating on medical malpractice and corporate negligence cases.

Edwards' return to the legal profession had been expected, following his move earlier this year to reactivate his long dormant license to practice law in North Carolina. The announcement caps months of incremental steps by Edwards to re-emerge into public life following his widely publicized 2012 trial on federal campaign finance fraud charges.

The new firm will have offices in Raleigh and Washington. Edwards' 31-year-old daughter, Cate, and her law partner, Sharon Eubanks, will comprise Edwards Kirby's Washington office.

"It is a privilege to practice again, and we want to take on cases that, through litigation, change social inequalities in favor of the greater good," said Edwards, 60, who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 2004. "In building Edwards Kirby, we sought a team that has championed the causes of economic and social equality in court and in hundreds of communities across the country."

In 2012, Edwards faced six felony charges in a case involving nearly $1 million provided by two wealthy political donors to help hide his pregnant mistress Rielle Hunter as he sought the White House in 2008.

Testimony during his six-week trial revealed embarrassing details of Edwards' extramarital affair with his campaign videographer, his repeated lies about the affair and the emotional impact on his wife Elizabeth Edwards, then battling the breast cancer that ultimately took her life in 2010.

A jury acquitted Edwards on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions and then deadlocked on the remaining five. He had faced up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Edwards lives on a gated estate outside Chapel Hill with two school-aged children he had with his wife. He also maintains a relationship with the child fathered through his affair with Hunter.

Edwards said Monday he had no plans to ever seek elected office again. He said he does not think the affair that ended his political career will hurt his ability to sway juries in the courtroom.

His former and once-again law partner agreed. Kirby has known Edwards since the 1970s, when they and Elizabeth Edwards all attended law school together at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"As someone who worked alongside John inside the courtroom for many years, I know that he is undoubtedly one of the best and most committed plaintiff lawyers in the country," Kirby said. "We see this as an opportunity to help those people who need it most and intend to uphold their basic rights in the courts."


Follow Associated Press Michael Biesecker at Twitter.com/mbieseck

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