The trial of former US presidential hopeful John Edwards -- accused of using campaign funds to cover up an extramarital affair -- is tentatively set for October, a judge ruled on Thursday.
Edwards, 58, sat quietly in a North Carolina courtroom as judge N. Carlton Tilley denied his lawyers' requests for a delay and set an October court date for the case brought against the former US Democratic senator last month.
Defense lawyers wanted a later trial date so they could analyze the tens of thousands of pages of documents that they say the prosecution has collected in its effort to convict Edwards on violations of campaign finance laws.
Edwards pleaded not guilty in June to charges of using $900,000 in campaign funds to cover up an extramarital affair, saying: "I did not break the law."
The former trial lawyer was charged in a six-count indictment "for allegedly participating in a scheme to violate federal campaign finance laws," the justice department said.
The charges concern hundreds of thousands of dollars provided by two wealthy donors, which Edwards allegedly used to shelter his mistress, Rielle Hunter, with whom he fathered a child.
Prosecutors argue that the donations that covered living, medical and other expenses for Hunter were campaign contributions because they were intended to hide the affair so that Edwards could continue his 2008 White House bid.
Legal analysts say the case could expand the definition of campaign contributions.
"This is a legal theory on which no one has ever been prosecuted," Edwards's attorney Jim Cooney said at Thursday's hearing.
A new judge will soon be assigned to the case and will set a more specific trial date.