On Saturday night, April 24, 2010, five days before John Edwards's mistress Rielle Hunter sat down with Oprah to talk about the by-then-infamous sex tape and other embarrassments that had destroyed his political career, the former presidential candidate showed up at the West End Wine Bar in downtown Durham, North Carolina. It was around ten o'clock, and Edwards wanted a glass of wine after finishing dinner with friends at a nearby restaurant.
When he got to the door, Edwards was disappointed to learn the bar was closed for a private event. A group of Duke public policy grad students had reserved the space to celebrate the end of the semester at a party they call "Prom." Inside, a DJ mixed dance music, while a scrum of twentysomethings jostled for drinks. Edwards and his friends turned to leave. Matthew Jentgen, a 28-year-old environmental policy student collecting tickets at the door, furiously lobbied them to come inside. "I told him, 'We're public policy students, it'd be interesting to have you at the party,'" Jentgen recently recalled. "He was looking as if he was wondering if he wanted to come in or not.... I wore him down, because, eventually, they came in."