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Birth certificate for Rielle Hunter's child lists no father

Former aide to John Edwards had claimed paternity in December

By Lisa Zagaroli
McClatchy Newspapers

The birth certificate of a child who a tabloid newspaper claims is linked to former Sen. John Edwards doesn't identify a father.

The certificate, obtained by The Charlotte Observer today, shows Frances Quinn Hunter was born Feb. 27, more than two months after an Edwards aide claimed to be the father. Andrew Young, a former Edwards campaign finance director, claimed paternity in a statement from his lawyer posted at the political blog mydd.com.

The girl was born at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., to Rielle Jaya James Druck, also known as Rielle Hunter. Hunter, 44, was a videographer on Edwards' presidential campaign last year.

Asked Thursday why no father was listed on the birth certificate, Hunter's attorney, Robert Gordon of New York, said, “A lot of women do that.”

Reminded that he and Hunter had publicly revealed the father's identity two months earlier to the National Enquirer, Gordon said, “That's a personal matter between them.”

Gordon declined to comment further.

With unmarried couples, California State law requires both parents to sign a “Declaration of Paternity” form prior to the father's name being put on the birth certificate. If the father is not present, his name may be added to the birth certificate at a later date after proper forms are obtained from the Department of Vital Records.

The Enquirer first alleged in October that Edwards had had a sexual relationship with a woman hired to create a documentary about him. A December story in the Enquirer claimed she was pregnant and living in a gated community in Chapel Hill, not far from Young and his family.

That story said:

“In a statement issued to The ENQUIRER through her attorney, Rielle said: ‘The fact that I am expecting a child is my personal and private business. This has no relationship to nor does it involve John Edwards in any way. Andrew Young is the father of my unborn child.'”

The Enquirer alleged in a story last week that Edwards visited Hunter and the child at a Beverly Hills hotel, and then was confronted by its reporters as he was leaving in the middle of the night. The newspaper hasn't published any photos of the alleged encounter.

On Wednesday, Edwards declined to answer questions about the allegations.

About a dozen reporters and photojournalists attended a speech Edwards gave to an AARP Foundation symposium on poverty and aging in Washington.

Afterward, he avoided waiting reporters, at least some of whom wanted to question him about the Enquirer reports.

He apparently exited through a side area used by the kitchen staff at Washington's historic Hotel Monaco.

Edwards emerged near the rear of the hotel with two men. When approached by a Charlotte Observer reporter, Edwards said, “Can't do it now, I'm sorry” and quickly walked past.

Asked about the Beverly Hilton, Edwards said “sorry” and got into a waiting car with the other men. Asked twice more to address the Enquirer story, Edwards was silent until the car doors were closed.

The Enquirer described in its story its reporters' attempts to chase down Edwards that night. The tabloid reported Edwards ran and hid in a restroom to elude them.

The story has prompted buzz in the blogosphere and become fodder for jokes by late-night hosts Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien, raising questions about his prospects for a spot in an Obama administration.

But Edwards has said little about the allegations. At a July 23 speech in Houston, Edwards responded to a reporter's question about the Enquirer story by referring to it as “tabloid trash.”

Staff researchers Marion Paynter and Maria David contributed.
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