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Edwards divests money from tainted lawyer; keeps money he raised


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' campaign has donated $4,600 to charity that came from a supporter who pleaded guilty this week to a federal conspiracy charge.

Records show William Lerach and members of his law firm contributed about $81,000 to the former North Carolina senator's campaign during the first six months of the year.

Lerach raised money for Edwards while Lerach was under indictment on charges that his former firm, Milberg Weiss, paid kickbacks to plaintiffs in class action lawsuits.

Edwards sided with unions and consumer groups this year in pressing the Securities and Exchange Commission to intervene in a suit against Wall Street banks on behalf of shareholders represented by Lerach Coughlin.

The Edwards campaign has denied any connection between the contributions from firm members and Edwards' stance in support of the shareholders.

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