Rielle Hunter's friend: It started before the campaign hired her

Via LGF. HuffPo accused Edwards two days ago of, ahem, “making a false assertion” to ABC about when the relationship began vis-a-vis when the campaign first started cutting checks to her. Now, a second source. Or is it?

Edwards told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff last week that he and Hunter began their affair only after Hunter was hired for the campaign to produce a series of films for the internet and she began traveling with him…

But that version of events is now being challenged by a one time close friend of Hunter’s, Pidgeon O’Brien.

“The affair began long, long, long before she was hired to work for the campaign almost half a year before she was hired to work on those videos,” O’Brien said in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

O’Brien says Hunter told her that in late February, early March 2006 she met an amazing man from North Carolina named John at a New York City hotel bar. She referred to her new man as ‘Love Lips’, whom she said was married with small children and a wife who had been ill.

That timeline jibes with HuffPo’s, which places the start of the relationship sometime in late 2005 or early 2006; the first check from the campaign to her film company wasn’t written until July. Does that mean we have two people corroborating the same facts now? Not necessarily: Sam Stein’s post on Saturday didn’t say how he’d obtained Hunter’s e-mails, but it did include the same “love lips” detail. Which makes me think maybe O’Brien was his source too.

Lingering exit question: If Hunter doesn’t want a paternity test, why was her sister busy Saturday morning calling Edwards’s bluff by publicly demanding one? Is it a good cop/bad cop thing, where the sister turns up the pressure to raise the price of Hunter’s (hypothesized) bought silence for Fred “The Best Friend Anyone’s Ever Had” Baron? Or are she and Hunter not working together at all and she was simply angry on her sister’s behalf? The other question, of course, is whether Hunter and her family are sufficiently close that her sister might know who the child’s father is. If so, you’d think the Best Friend Anyone’s Ever Had would be shooting them a little “generosity” too.