Even with his political image shattered and his private life in shambles, John Edwards used to be a regular at the bars and restaurants near his home in North Carolina.
But as federal prosecutors wind down their investigation into whether Edwards broke campaign finance laws trying to cover up an affair with a former campaign staffer, the onetime Democratic presidential hopeful has vanished in recent weeks, the New York Times' Kim Severson reports.
That's led to speculation among the locals in Chapel Hill that a possible Edwards indictment is coming sooner rather than later.
Dozens of former campaign aides have been interviewed in the grand jury probe, including Rielle Hunter, a former campaign videographer who had an affair with Edwards and later gave birth to his child. Prosecutors also recently interviewed Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, a banking heiress who reportedly gave millions in undocumented contributions to Edwards--cash that one former top Edwards aide, Andrew Young, has said was used to cover up the former boss's affair with Hunter.
A former campaign aide who appeared before the grand jury tells the Times he was specifically pressed about how much Edwards knew about the campaign's finances. He was also asked "lots of questions about sex."
Edwards, who has denied any campaign-related wrongdoing, recently moved back into the home he once shared with his estranged wife, Elizabeth, who succumbed to her battle with cancer in early December, and their two youngest kids, Emma Claire and Jack.
"We all just feel for him, no matter what he's done," Bill Smith, a chef at Crook's Corner, a frequent Edwards haunt, told the Times. "And you know there is more to come."