John Edwards trial begins

john-edwards-trial.jpgFormer senator and presidential hopeful John Edwards' criminal trial for campaign finance violations begins today in Greensboro, North Carolina -- and the outlook is less than auspicious.

Edwards is accused of misusing nearly $1 million in political funds and donations to help cover up his extramarital affair with Rielle Hunter during the campaign season of 2007-2008. Hunter later went on to give birth to Edwards' daughter, but he publicly denied paternity for nearly two years.

Hunter, as well as Edwards' oldest daughter Kate, are expected to be key witnesses -- and bring plenty of attention to the courtroom drama.

The once-promising candidate could face 30 years behind bars and a million dollars in fines and penalties.

Edwards' infidelity and the associated political scandal have been deemed especially offensive by most Americans because his then-wife, Elizabeth, was battling cancer. She passed away in December 2010.

In related news, a joint CBS News/New York Times poll found that Edwards' approval rating has sunk down to a mere 3% -- down 30% from his days as a Democratic primary candidate in 2007.

The poll also asked respondents for the first thing that came to mind when hearing Edwards' name (other than running for president). The number one answer? Cheating on his wife.

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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