10/27/2011 10:43 am ET Updated Dec 27, 2011

John Edwards Criminal Charges: Judge Denies Attempted Dismissal Of Case

On Thursday, a federal judge in North Carolina refused to dismiss criminal charges against John Edwards, local station WTVD reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles ruled in Greensboro that the federal government's case against the former presidential candidate and U.S. senator can proceed.

The AP relays background on the latest developments in the case:

Lawyers for John Edwards worked Wednesday to undercut the federal government's criminal case against the former presidential candidate before it ever gets to a jury.

Edwards is scheduled to be tried in January on charges that he asked two wealthy campaign donors to provide nearly $1 million in secret payments used to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the Democratic Party's nomination for the White House in 2007 and early 2008.

In a hearing to consider five motions seeking the dismissal of the case, lawyer Abbe Lowell said his client knew nothing of the checks, cash and private jets used to fly the woman, Rielle Hunter, across the country and put her up in luxury homes and hotels.

But even if Edwards did know, Lowell told U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles, no laws were broken.

ABC News reports that lawyers representing Edwards regarded allegations at play in the case as "crazy" and "radical."

Edwards was in the courtroom when his legal team's attempt to have charges against him dismissed was denied on Thursday. He displayed no visible reaction to the decision.

The 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee had an affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, eventually fathering a child. Prosecutors contend that Edwards used money from donors far in excess of legal campaign limits to keep the dalliance under wraps.

Much of the undisclosed money was funneled to Andrew Young, a close aide to Edwards who left the campaign and falsely claimed paternity of the senator's illegitimate child. Young and his wife invited the pregnant Hunter to live in their home near Chapel Hill and later travelled with her as tabloid reporters sought to expose the candidate's extramarital affair.

Edwards' lawyers argue that if the prosecution's case succeeds, it could theoretically mean that any money a candidate spends while running for office could be classified as a campaign expense, which they say would twist federal law completely out of shape.