John Edwards, Sean Penn

Will Ragozzino/Getty Images; Kevan Brooks/AdMedia/Sipa USA

All the King's Men couldn't put John Edwards' presidential campaign together again.

But the disgraced former senator and onetime vice presidential nominee did out seek the advice of several Hollywood pals, most notably among them Sean Penn, as to how to come clean about having a child out of wedlock with mistress Rielle Hunter.

Per local station WRAL, the revelation surfaced today during proceedings in Greensboro, N.C., where Edwards is on trial for allegedly using more than $1 million in illegal campaign contributions to hide his extramarital affair and then lying about it to authorities.

According to testimony from a star witness for the prosecution, Wendy Button, a former speechwriter for the 58-year-old Democrat,  Edwards was preparing a public statement on the matter of his paternity and sent drafts to the Oscar winner as well as Revenge actress Madeleine Stowe and Crash director Paul Haggis among key showbiz supporters.

It's not known what exactly he consulted them about or whether they even responded. (Maybe he just needed some proofreading?)

Ultimately, Edwards issued a press release in January 2010 admitting that he fathered a baby girl with Hunter, a videographer who was on his campaign's payroll, and apologizing for disappointing those who believed in his candidacy.

The news was meant to preempt a book that came out a month later by his closest aide, Andrew Young, who initially participated in a cover-up to keep the pregnancy and ensuing scandal under wraps by claiming paternity in a failed bid to save Edwards' ultimately doomed campaign.

A rep for Penn wasn't aware of today's testimony and the actor could not be reached for comment. No word either from Stowe's or Haggis' camps.

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