Mistress' Family Challenges Edwards to Take DNA Test

Rielle Hunter reportedly refuses to participate in genetic testing.

ByABC News
August 9, 2008, 8:41 AM

Aug. 9, 2008— -- The family of John Edwards' former mistress, Rielle Hunter, is challenging the former senator to take a DNA paternity test after his claim that he did not father Hunter's 6-months-old child.

In the first reaction from Hunter's family, her younger sister Melissa told ABC News that Edwards should immediately follow through on his pledge to take a paternity test.

"I would challenge him to do so," the sister said.

"Somebody must stand up and defend my sister," she said. "I wish that those involved would refrain from bad-mouthing my sister."

Late Saturday evening, The Washington Post reported that Hunter released a statement through her attorney, Robert Gordon, that she would not participate in a genetic test.

Calls to Gordon were not immediately returned.

In his interview with ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff acknowledging the affair (STORY | VIDEO), Edwards said he knew the child was not his because of "the timing" of the pregnancy and the affair.

"I would welcome participating in a paternity test," Edwards said. "I'm only one side of the test, but I'm happy to participate in one."

Hunter left her Santa Barbara, Calif., home earlier this week in advance of Edwards' ABC News interview.

She had been hired in 2006 to produce Web documentaries for the Edwards campaign, at a cost of $114,000, even though she had no filmmaking experience.

Edwards said the affair began only after she was hired. The two had initially met at a New York city hotel bar, according to friends of Hunter.

Her daughter, Frances Quinn, was born in February in Santa Barbara.

Edwards admitted to ABC News he met secretly with Hunter last month at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., for the purpose of "trying to keep this from becoming public."