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Judge: John Edwards has heart condition

NBC's Andrea Mitchell reports.

Updated 6:40 p.m. ET: Ex-presidential candidate John Edwards has a serious health condition that requires treatment and limits on his travel, sources told NBC News on Friday. It had been reported that the judge delayed Edwards' campaign-finance trial and described Edwards' condition as life-threatening. But a source told NBC News that the condition is an arrhythmia that might require implantation of a pacemaker. Another source said the judge described Edwards' condition as serious.

And The Associated Press phrased it this way: Federal Judge Catherine Eagles did not disclose the exact nature of Edwards' illness Friday or what procedure he needed. However, she said the two-time presidential candidate had "three episodes" and indicated his condition could be life-threatening if left untreated.

Earlier story: A judge on Friday agreed to delay the campaign-finance trial of ex-presidential candidate John Edwards after his attorney presented two letters detailing a life- threatening condition that will require surgery next month.

A cardiologist for the 58-year-old ex-North Carolina senator wrote two letters about his condition to Judge Catherine Eagles who talked about them Friday during a hearing to consider whether the trial would go ahead later this month. She delayed it until at least March 26.

Edwards walked into the courtroom in Greensboro without assistance and appeared healthy. The judge requested that he be there.

The judge did not give any more details about what sort of surgery or what illness Edwards may have. The doctor also wrote that Edwards should avoid driving and travel, including to the court proceedings.

"The public has an interest in a speedy trial, and this case has already been continued twice," Eagles said. "Ordinarily, I would try to manage something like this. But clearly there are some limitations on Mr. Edwards due to real and serious health issues."

Prosecutors had said they were ready to try Edwards on six felony and misdemeanor counts related to nearly $1 million given by wealthy donors and used to help hide his pregnant mistress during his 2008 White House run.

Edwards' attorneys need to update the judge on his health by Feb. 28. Eagles also set an attorney's conference for March 1.

NBC News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Former Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, has faced public and private challenges throughout his life and career.


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