JOHN EDWARDS is determined to work out a "plea deal" to avoid jail time as a federal grand jury investigating him appears to have wrapped up its case!

The ENQUIRER exclusively learned the bombshell developments late Tuesday night about the disgraced former presidential candidate from sources close to the situation in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Edwards has been investigated by the feds, including the FBI and IRS, for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter.

The grand jury has been meeting since April 2009.

In our March 15 issue, we reported that insiders said an indictment was imminent. One source said "John was terrified" of going to jail.

But Edwards has been working "around-the-clock behind the scenes with his lawyers to work out a deal with prosecutors," a source disclosed.

The source added: "John does not want to be indicted – and he certainly doesn’t want to go to jail!

"It appears he’s willing to cop to a misdemeanor charge. He’s asking to keep his law license.

"The prosecutors have put the screws to him – and it appears he will admit some guilt."

Beginning in 2007, a series of exclusive ENQUIRER stories blew the lid off Edwards’ affair with blonde divorcee Rielle and the birth of their love child, daughter Frances. Rielle was on Edwards’ campaign payroll.

In August 2008 , The ENQUIRER raised the issue of "hush money" being paid to Rielle and Andrew Young, a married Edwards’ aide who helped cover up the affair by claiming he was involved with Rielle and had fathered her child.

Since then, Young had written a book about his role in the cover-up and admitted he lied to protect his former boss. He’s publicly bashed both John and Elizabeth Edwards in interviews and testified against Edwards before the grand jury.

In May 2009, Edwards acknowledged the grand jury investigation and assured his supporters: "I am confident that no funds from my campaign were used improperly…"