The U.S. Justice Department plans to charge former Sen. John Edwards with illegally diverting money donated to his campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination to conceal an extramarital affair, ABC News said.

Federal investigators suspect campaign contributions from two wealthy donors were used to support Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, and the couple's now-3-year-old daughter, a source close to the probe told the network.

The North Carolina Democrat, who flatly denied the affair when the National Enquirer first reported it in October 2007, subsequently acknowledged the liaison with Hunter and that Frances Quinn Hunter is his child.

His January 2010 admission of paternity prompted wife Elizabeth Edwards to announce a legal separation from her husband of 33 years.

Elizabeth Edwards died last December from cancer that was diagnosed on Nov. 3, 2004, the day Sen. John Kerry and vice presidential running mate John Edwards conceded defeat in the presidential election.

John Edwards is now mulling courses of action in response to the charges, sources close to the family told media outlets.

The former presidential hopeful is especially concerned about the possibility he could lose his license to practice law, the sources said.