BIRDS of a feather flock to­gether – especially in the case of admitted cheater and former presidential hopeful John Edwards.

Ed­wards met with Benjamin Sheftall Eichholz, a convicted felon and dis­barred attorney, At Local 11 Ten res­taurant in Savannah, Ga., on July 24.

On AUG. 6, 2009, a federal grand jury slammed Eichholz with a 77-count indictment, charging that he schemed to embezzle more than $950,000 from employee pension benefit plans. He pleaded guilty to one count and was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and fined $25,000. For Edwards, it’s the worst possible time to be caught meeting with a convicted felon.

The former senator – who once raked in millions as a personal in­jury attorney – is desperately trying to rehabilitate his reputation as he reportedly gets set to open a new North Carolina law firm.

“Ben is a real shady character,” said a source. “If John wants to repair his image, he needs to steer clear of people like him.”

Eicholz told The ENQUIRER that he knows Edwards through his at­torney son, David, and “discussed some high-profile cases” with him in Savannah.

Edwards is trying to get back on his feet after a bombshell series of ENQUIRER exposes revealed that the married dad was not only cheat­ing on his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth with videographer Rielle Hunter but also that he was the fa­ther of her love child.

And on June 3, 2011, Edwards was indicted by a North Carolina grand jury on six felony charges of illegally using nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to cover up his affair with Rielle. But a jury failed to convict him, and the Justice Department dropped the case.

“John’s meeting with Ben is only going to add to his PR nightmare,” said the source. “First he cheats on his sick wife and now he’s hanging around with a convicted felon.”