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Associated Press

GREENSBORO, NC (AP) — A judge says a key prosecution witness in the criminal trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards contacted other witnesses in the case to ask about their planned testimony, a possible violation of federal law.

US District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles said Monday that former Edwards aide Andrew Young called the three other witnesses in the last two weeks. Eagles ruled that lawyers for Edwards could mention the improper contact to jurors in opening arguments Monday, but barred using the term “witness tampering” or telling the jury that Young had a one-night stand with one of the other witnesses in 2007.

Young claimed paternity of the child Edwards fathered with his mistress in 2007. Young is potentially the government’s most important witness as prosecutors seek to prove Edwards knowingly violated campaign finance laws.

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