Former Edwards financial backer 'Bunny' Mellon dies at 103
March 17th, 2014
04:16 PM ET
7 months ago

Former Edwards financial backer 'Bunny' Mellon dies at 103

(CNN) – Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, a high-profile financial backer of former presidential candidate John Edwards, died Monday morning in Upperville, Virginia, according to her attorney, Alexander Forger. She was 103.

Along with her ties to Edwards, Mellon was known for being a major arts patron and donating hundreds of art pieces to the National Gallery of Art.

A major horticulturist, Mellon designed two gardens at the White House, including the famous Rose Garden.

She also built churches and was deeply involved with philanthropy.

"She lived a wonderful, long life," her attorney said.

While she wasn't a major donor to a lot of Democrats, Forger said "she was very close to the Kennedys," especially Jackie Onassis Kennedy, and felt drawn to Edwards, as well.

"John Edwards gave all of the appearances to (being) Jack Kennedy," Forger said.

To Mellon, the former senator from North Carolina "looked and sounded like Jack Kennedy" because of some of the domestic policies and programs Edwards supported to help those in need, Forger added.

Following his second presidential campaign, Edwards was notoriously charged with violating campaign finance laws, but was later acquitted.

He was given more than $700,000 in donations from Mellon that prosecutors alleged was used to cover up his affair with Rielle Hunter, a video producer for Edwards' campaign, and to support Hunter. During the affair Hunter became pregnant with Edwards' baby although at first Edwards denied he was the father.

Mellon's attorneys have said she was trying to help a friend and didn't know what the money was being used for.

Prosecutors said Edwards "knowingly and willingly" took the money from Mellon and another donor to keep Hunter out of the public eye, then concealed the donations by filing false and misleading campaign disclosure reports.

After more than 50 hours of deliberations over nine days, jurors cleared him in 2012 of one of six counts and deadlocked on the rest.


CNN's Kevin Bohn and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: John Edwards
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. salty dog

    All the justice you can afford. An unbelievably selfish man, he sure had bunny fooled.

    March 17, 2014 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Captain Obvious

    He rode that bunny 'til it dropped.

    Another fine upstanding corrupt Democrat criminal... Ticker is full of them today.

    March 17, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Ol' Yeller

    Don't cotton much to cheaters who lie and leave their wives when they have serious medical issues.

    Again, I ain't no republicant.

    March 17, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Laverne

    Wonder if Johnny boy convinced Ms. Bunny to include him in her will?

    March 17, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    Ego, thy name is Edwards.

    March 17, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  6. O'drama ya Mama

    Captain Obvious

    He rode that bunny 'til it dropped.

    Another fine upstanding corrupt Democrat criminal... Ticker is full of them today.
    March 17, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Ah yes and you seem to always be absent on the days they run stories on corrupt Republicans. If you honestly think one side is better then the other then you are part of the problem not the solution.

    March 17, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. enbeuu

    Did he get into her will? We want to know. He probably wants to know, too.

    March 17, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  8. Wake up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    She seemed like a remarkable woman. Her only flaw, thinking looks were everything. But she kind of had it right, he was a womanizer like Jack. He fooled her the way many good looking men do a lot of women.

    March 17, 2014 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. ghost

    Thi story is about her not him. Stay focus people. She can do whatever she wants with her money.

    March 18, 2014 02:50 am at 2:50 am |