Heated campaign corruption trial of John Edwards heats up as the wife of an ex-aide to Edwards broke down in tears on the witness stand Monday, recounting how the former presidential candidate asked the couple to hide an affair he was having with Rielle Hunter and justified using wealthy donors’ money to carry out the matter.
Cheri Young testified at Edwards’ campaign corruption trial, saying that she and her husband, Andrew Young, huddled around a phone in her upscale Chapel Hill home during December 2007 involving Rielle Hunter, Edwards’ pregnant mistress.
During the call, Edwards emphasized the need to preserve his campaign while keeping the affair from his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth, stated Young. It was several weeks prior to the 2008 Iowa caucuses, and all parties involved were extremely cautious about tabloid reporters searching for a political scandal story.
When asked by a prosecutor why she agreed to go along with the scheme, Young clasped her hands together and bowed her head, as if in shame. Beginning to weep, U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles dismissed the jury to give Young sufficient time to compose herself before returning to the courtroom.
Across the courtroom, John Edwards leaned back in his chair and placed two fingers on his pursed lips. As Young dabbed her tears with a tissue, the former U.S. senator seemed to impatiently look at his watch.
And when the jury returned to the courtroom, Young answered the question.
“I felt like everything had been dumped in my lap,” Young said. “Everybody was on board but me. … I didn’t want the campaign to explode and for it to be my fault. I ultimately decided to live with a lie.”
Young went on to state that during the call, Edwards suggested that it would only be a one-day story if Andrew Young took responsibility for the baby.
“‘Nobody cares about two staffers having an affair,’” Young recalled Edwards saying.
Rielle Hunter had previously been paid for her videographer services by one of the many organizations linked with Edwards, accused of deliberately using contributions from two wealthy donors in an attempt to hide Hunter as Edwards pursued the presidential nomination.
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