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Edwards reactivates law license, speaking at event

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm •  Published: May 16, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Former presidential contender John Edwards has reactivated his license to practice law and is setting out on the speaking circuit.

The two-time presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator is scheduled to appear June 6 at a private retreat in Orlando, Fla., for lawyer clients of the marketing firm PMP.

A records check with the N.C. State Bar shows Edwards has also reactivated his license to practice law, which had been inactive for more than a decade. The contact number listed for Edwards rings at his old Raleigh firm, where a receptionist said Edwards has not worked for many years.

Edwards has remained largely out of public view since his May 2012 acquittal on one charge of campaign finance fraud. A federal judge declared a mistrial on five other criminal counts after jurors couldn't agree if Edwards illegally used campaign money to hide his pregnant mistress as he ran for president in 2008.

An itinerary for the Florida event says Edwards will speak for about 45 minutes as part of a program entitled, "Historic Trials of the Century." Edwards earned millions as a personal injury lawyer before entering politics.

Messages left at PMP seeking comment about the firm's booking of Edwards received no response. A woman who answered the phone said the June event would be closed to the media.

Efforts to reach Edwards on Thursday were also unsuccessful.

Edwards said after his trial last year that he hoped to someday open an advocacy law firm to serve indigent clients and find a way to positively contribute to society.

Wade Smith, a Raleigh defense lawyer who served as Edwards' mentor early in his legal career, said he saw Edwards recently and that he looked "so much better, more relaxed."

Smith said Edwards hadn't told him he had reactivated his law license, but he was not surprised.

"He's got so much ability and talent," Smith said of Edwards, the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee. "Lawyers who saw him in front of a jury will tell you they never saw anything like him, his ability to connect. That talent is still in there and I think he will find a space to use it."

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