Beating tabloids again, DNAinfo reports investigation into soccer-mom madam Anna Gristina led to ... John Edwards

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John Edwards, Anna Gristina. ()
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DNAinfo's Murray Weiss reports that the investigation into alleged soccer-mom madam Anna Gristina led to at least one big-name john. John Edwards, in fact.

After a splashy call-girl service gets busted, the story tends to get loaded down with pretrial motions and weird particulars; to keep things going, the battling tabloids grasp at anything remotely connected to the case to keep the story interesting. But all the while, they've got their eyes on the gold: Were any of the madam's clients famous?

This has been all along the unstated competition between the two city tabloids, the Daily News and the New York Post.

But they've been beaten to the punch (again) by DNAinfo, the Manhattan neighborhood-news website. Crime reporter-columnist Weiss, who himself won a lot of these kinds of battles on behalf of the Post in years past, brought home the doozy.

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He reports, via anonymous sources, that investigators interviewed a woman who they say worked for Gristina. The woman told investigators that during a fund-raising trip to New York City at the height of his 2008 presidential bid, she was paid to have sex with John Edwards in an Upper East Side hotel he was known to stay at while in town.

According to Weiss, the woman gave the five-year-long investigation a detailed account of her tryst with Edwards some time ago. The police did not kick the matter up to the feds, according to Weiss' sources, because proving cases against johns is nearly impossible and because the infraction, if provable, is small. But Weiss reports that investigators found the woman's account credible.

This is the first indication that Gristina's List is something worth thinking about.

According to Weiss' sources, the connection between Edwards and the woman who spoke to prosecutors was arranged by a local fund-raiser who knew of Gristina's operation.

Was Edwards a one-off celebrity client, or is his patronage a sign that Gristina's list has more names?

You can expect the tabloids to go insane trying to find out, and to name names first.