Edwards' Money Man Also Has Ties to Biden
By Matthew Mosk
When newly minted vice presidential pick Joe Biden arrives in Denver, he will be greeted by one of his most generous supporters, trial lawyer Fred Baron.
Baron, the wealthy Dallas founder of the Baron & Budd law firm, headed the nation's trial lawyers association while Biden chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee. And before Baron sold his firm in 2002, lawyers there donated $108,100 to the Delaware senator, making the firm one of his most prolific contributors, according to a review by the Center for Responsive Politics.
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Baron's name may be more familiar now as the man who served for a decade as a money man and informal consigliere to John Edwards. He recently made headlines for helping foot the bill for Edwards's mistress, Rielle Hunter, to leave North Carolina.
Baron said this afternoon that he is thrilled with Sen. Barack Obama's choice of running mate.
"He is up there to help people, and that to me is the principal criterion," Baron said in an interview. "Joe Biden and I see eye to eye on the way this country should be run."
Baron said he is heading to Denver tomorrow. He said he does not want his efforts on behalf of Edwards and Hunter to be misunderstood, or to be a distraction.
"I didn't do anything that was illegal. I just had bad information," he said. "If I had known what had been going on, it would have been handled differently."
Baron has said he was simply trying to help Hunter and an Edwards aide who claimed to have fathered her child from being dogged by tabloid reporters. Baron told the Dallas Morning News two weeks ago that he used his own money -- not campaign funds -- to help the two move from North Carolina to California at a time when Edwards was dismissing allegations about an extramarital affair as "tabloid trash."
Edwards acknowledged earlier this month that he and Hunter had been romantically involved, but said the daughter born to Hunter in February was not his.
Baron said today he expects he will be targeted for political attacks because of the episode. "The Republicans don't like me. I know they'd like to figure out some way to jerry-rig this to make this look like something it was not," Baron said.
Posted at 5:49 PM ET on Aug 23, 2008
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