SEARCH

Entries in Andrew Young (14)

Monday
May212012

John Edwards Jury Looking at 'Bunny' Money as Deliberations Continue

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- The jury in John Edwards' campaign finance trial begins its second day of deliberations Monday morning in Greensboro, N.C.

The panel of eight men and four women spent about five hours behind closed doors on Friday as they began to weigh the evidence presented over nearly four weeks of testimony.

Shortly after they retired to the jury room on Friday, the jurors sent out a note to Judge Catherine Eagles, requesting a number of trial exhibits related to money provided by Virginia heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2007.

The government alleges in count two of a six-count indictment that Edwards and his former aide Andrew Young illegally solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mellon as part of the effort to hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign.  Count three of the indictment contains similar allegations, but is focused on checks Mellon wrote in January 2008, shortly before Edwards ended his quest for the nomination.

Among the exhibits the jury requested is a letter Mellon wrote in April 2007 that is sometimes referred to as the "haircut" letter.  Mellon wrote the letter to Young, shortly after the press had seized on the news that Edwards had charged a $400 haircut to his campaign.

"I was sitting alone in a grim mood -- furious that the press had attacked Sen. Edwards on the price of a hair cut," Mellon's handwritten note reads.  "From now on, all hair cuts, etc., that are a necessary and important part of his campaign, please send the bills to me.  It is a way to help our friend without government restrictions."

Within six weeks of that letter, Mellon began writing a series of personal checks that would eventually add up to $725,000 over seven months.  The jury also requested copies of the first two of those checks, which were funnelled to Young through an intermediary and eventually deposited in an account in the maiden name of Young's wife, Cheri.

Edwards' defense team has argued that Young was taking advantage of Mellon, bilking her out of the money with the pretense that it was for Edwards.  They noted that the vast majority of Mellon's money went to Young and his wife, who used much of it to fund the construction of their $1.6 million home.

After the jury's request on Friday, an Edwards lawyer told a clutch of reporters in the courtroom that the deliberations could take a while.  The jury appears, at least at the outset, to be taking a meticulous, count-by-count approach to their discussions.

Edwards is charged with conspiracy, accepting illegal campaign contributions and making false statements.  If convicted on all six counts, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

John Edwards' Lawyer Suggests Witness Wants to 'Get' Him

SKETCH BY CHRISTINE CORNELL(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- A lawyer for John Edwards bluntly asked a key witness Tuesday who gave damaging testimony against the former presidential candidate, "You are interested in getting John Edwards, right?"

It was one of a series of accusatory questions put to Cheri Young, the wife of Edwards' former top aide Andrew Young.

Cheri Young and her husband Andrew have been the first two witnesses in Edwards' trial and both have claimed that Edwards assured them that it was legal to funnel $725,000 through Cheri Young's personal account.

The money from wealthy backers was meant to help hide Rielle Hunter, Edwards' mistress who had gotten pregnant after Edwards' wife demanded that he end the affair.

Edwards was running for president during much of the 2007-08 coverup and is accused of illegally using campaign donations to keep his mistress a secret. If convicted, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison.

Edwards' attorney Alan Duncan appeared to depict the Youngs as schemers who used Edwards' scandal as a chance to enrich themselves and suggested that Cheri Young was angry at the former candidate because her husband spent so much time working for him.

"Mr. Edwards was like a third person in your marriage and you had a great deal of anger about that, didn't you?" Duncan asked Mrs. Young.

"Isn't it true that because Mr. Young did not do the things you needed him to do for your family that you blamed Mr. and Mrs. Edwards for that?" he persisted.

Cheri Young rejected both suggestions, but she had testified Monday about the escalating demands made on her family by Edwards during the scandal. When her husband was expected to claim paternity of Hunter's child to protect Edwards, she said her thought was, "The first thing in my mind was how in the world could Mr. Edwards ask one more thing of me? Of us?"

"If you can get John Edwards then that's what you want to do....You are interested in getting John Edwards, right?" Duncan asked. Mrs. Young replied, "There is no hatred. I can't live like that."

Questions by Edwards' lawyer loudly hinted that Cheri and Andrew Young began collecting voicemails and seeking funds for the coverup as a way to make money off the scandal when they realized that Hunter was pregnant. He noted they spent a lot of the cover-up money on their house, sold a lucrative book deal and have sold movie rights to the book.

"You had already come up with the scheme by June of 2007," he said as a question, which she denied.

"Those recordings were not kept for a book," Cheri Young said. "It was because we accepted paternity for your client. And for this exact reason today. It was all a lie and here we are in court, and that's why they were saved."

The defense showed a 13-minute video that Cheri Young took of the house where Hunter lived showing furniture, photos, newspaper articles, sticky notes listing the birthdates of John Travolta, Matt Dillon and Jeff Daniels. There was a list of possible baby names, including Quinn, which Hunter later named her child.

Cheri Young testified that she took the video "to show that the money was actually spent, to prove that there really was a Rielle Hunter and there really was a house that I rented for her. This was proof that there really was a Rielle Hunter that I took care of," she said.

Earlier Tuesday, Cheri Young admitted that her husband took Ambien and drank "a lot" during the time he was helping to hide Edwards' mistress, but denied Duncan's suggestion that it caused memory problems for him.

Duncan noted that Mrs. Young was not a witness to conversations between her husband and Edwards, and indicated that what Andrew Young told her may not have been reliable.

"Have you ever told anyone that Andrew Young is such an accomplished liar that not even you as his wife can tell when he's telling the truth?" Duncan asked.

"Not that I recall," she answered.

Duncan also asked whether Andrew Young's memory was affected by alcohol and a sleep aid drug.

"Has his drinking been a concern to you?" he asked Mrs. Young.

"He drank a lot in 2006 and 2007. I don't believe after that," she said.

Cheri Young conceded that she told the FBI and prosecutors recently that her husband has taken Ambien for years, but initially rejected Duncan's question that it affects his memory.

Duncan then read from a transcript of the April 19 meeting with the FBI and prosecutors quoting it as saying, "Ambien makes her husband loopy and he couldn't remember things the next day."

"Yes, that is correct," Mrs. Young replied.

The cross examination began a day after Cheri Young tearfully told the court that was "disgusted" with Edwards' efforts to hide his pregnant mistress but decided to help anyway.

During her testimony Monday, Cheri Young testified that she agreed to go along with a scheme to funnel more than $1 million of donations through her account because Edwards assured her that it was legal.

She explained to the court, at times through tears, why she repeatedly agreed to go along with escalating demands on her and her husband to hide Hunter, even allowing her husband to claim paternity of Edwards' child with Hunter.

Cheri Young told the court that everybody was on board with the paternity plan except her. If she refused, "the campaign would explode and I would be responsible. So I ultimately agreed to go along with the lie."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May012012

John Edwards' Lawyers Take Aim at Aide's Wife

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, S.C.) -- John Edwards' legal team is waiting their turn to grill Cheri Young Tuesday, the woman who tearfully told a court that she was "disgusted" with Edwards' efforts to hide his pregnant mistress, but decided to help anyway.

Young is the wife of Edwards' former top aide Andrew Young. She returns to the stand Tuesday after her emotional testimony Monday was cut short by a migraine headache.

On cross examination she can expect to be asked why about $1 million of the alleged hush money ended up in her family's pockets and helped bankroll the construction of their luxurious North Carolina home.

Her husband, who was the leadoff witness in the trial last week, was kept on the stand for more than two days of grueling cross examination by Edwards' lawyers.

Edwards is accused of using campaign donations during the 2007-08 presidential campaign to hide his mistress Rielle Hunter. If convicted, Edwards could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

The defense claims that Edwards used the money to hide Hunter from his wife, not from the government or the public.

During her testimony Monday, Cheri Young, 38, testified that she agreed to go along with a scheme to funnel more than $1 million of donations through her account because Edwards assured her that it was legal.

"I heard Mr. John Edwards tell me on the phone that he checked with the campaign lawyers and this is legal. Get the money in," she testified that Edwards said to her. "He was very short and very angry."

She explained to the court, at times through tears, why she repeatedly agreed to go along with escalating demands on her and her husband to hide Hunter, even allowing her husband to claim paternity of Edwards' child with Hunter.

Cheri Young told the court that everybody was on board with the paternity plan except her. If she refused, "The campaign would explode and I would be responsible. So I ultimately agreed to go along with the lie." The court also ruled on Monday that testimony about a sex tape made by Edwards and his mistress may yet play a significant role in the trial as the judge cleared the way for testimony surrounding the steamy video.

Prosecutors and Edwards' lawyers have agreed the video itself won't be shown to jurors.

Among the questions that Edwards' lawyers may seek to be answered, they said in court today while the jury was out, was whether former Edwards aide Andrew Young stole the video from Hunter, whether he tried to sell it, and whether he threatened Edwards with it when the effort to hide Hunter was unraveling.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr302012

John Edwards Told Cheri Young the Mistress Money Was Legal

Sara D. Davis/Getty Image(GREENSBORO, S.C.) -- The wife of John Edwards' former aide testified Monday that she was "disgusted" by Edwards' financial scheme to hide his pregnant mistress, but agreed to help after Edwards personally assured her that it was legal.

"I wanted to hear it from Mr. Edwards myself," Cheri Young told the court Monday, once she was told that checks meant to keep mistress Rielle Hunter out of sight would be written out to Cheri Young's maiden name.

An impatient Edwards did call Mrs. Young, the wife of his longtime aide Andrew Young, who had been helping to hide Hunter.

"I heard Mr. John Edwards tell me on the phone that he checked with the campaign lawyers and this is legal. Get the money in," she testified that Edwards said to her. "He was very short and very angry."

"I cannot tell you how disgusted I was. Why me? This was my husband's fight. He did this all day. Fix the problem, fix the problem. Now guess what? This is now my problem," she said.

It was the second time jurors heard a witness testify that Edwards had insisted that the financial scheme was legal.

Edwards is accused of using campaign donations to hide his mistress. If convicted, Edwards could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Cheri Young, 38, a diminutive part-time pediatric nurse, took the stand Monday at the start of the second week of testimony. It was an often emotional, tearful recounting of the stress upon her and her family as they tried to keep Edwards' secret during the 2007-08 presidential campaign as Edwards kept asking her and her husband for more help.

Initially it was the checks, then it was to have Hunter move in with them. They later hit the road with Hunter so the media couldn't find her. Mrs. Young burst into tears while recounting how Edwards then suggested that her husband claim paternity for his baby.

Each time Mrs. Young gave in, including over the question of paternity.

"My husband and I had both done everything to help make this man president....If I didn't do this, take care of this, the campaign was going down," she said when confronted with the plan to funnel money through her name.

When confronted with the plan for her husband to say he had an affair with Hunter and got her pregnant, Cheri Young said, "The first thing in my mind was how in the world could Mr. Edwards ask one more thing of me? Of us?'"

She testified that she was furious at her husband, that she "screamed at him, cursed at him."

Mrs. Young's crying prompted the judge to halt proceedings and send the jurors out of the courtroom. When she had composed herself, Cheri Young explained to the court that everybody was on board with the paternity plan except her.

If she refused, "The campaign would explode and I would be responsible. So I ultimately agreed to go along with the lie."

Mrs. Young described living with Edwards' mistress as increasingly stressful. At first she was "shaking in her boots" when she went to cash the checks meant for Hunter's expenses. There was the abrupt announcement that Hunter was coming to live with them because their home was in a gated community, making it hard for the press to find her.

"She walked into the hallway. She took a spin and opened her arms out wide and said, 'I'm here.' I literally fell into the couch and I was just in awe. There was no hello," Cheri Young said.

Hunter treated them as servants, she said. "She told us what she wanted and we did it," Cheri Young said.

When the National Enquirer tracked Hunter to their home, the Youngs had a fright. Their children came downstairs in their pajamas one evening for a snack and they saw a man peering into their window.

"I screamed, my children screamed. And we called 911," she testified.

They hit the road to keep Hunter unavailable to the press and her demands increased to the point where she resisted allowing the Youngs to return home so they could put their kids in school.

Mrs. Young can expect a tough grilling during cross examination. Her husband was questioned for two days by Edwards' lead attorney, Abbe Lowell.

She can expect to be asked why about $1 million of the alleged hush money ended up in her family's pockets and helped bankroll the construction of their luxurious North Carolina home.

Edwards' defense team laced into Andrew Young, claiming that he used the scandal to enrich himself. They also claimed that Edwards used the money to hide Hunter from his wife, not from the government or the public.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

John Edwards Judge Won't Block Sex Tape Testimony

Steve Exum/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- The judge in the John Edwards trial Friday rejected a bid by Edwards' former mistress to sharply restrict what the court and the public can hear about a sex tape the couple made together.

The tape shows Rielle Hunter, who later gave birth to Edwards' child, and it shows enough of Edwards to be able to identify him.

Judge Catherine Eagles rebuffed the request Friday, after she had earlier ruled that the video itself was inadmissible and would not be introduced during the trial.

Hunter, who was a videographer on Edwards' failed bid for the presidency in 2007, is expected to testify later in the trial.

The tape came up when Edwards' lawyer Abbe Lowell was grilling key prosecution witness Andrew Young about the final conversation that Edwards and Young during a car ride on Aug. 18, 2008 in a wooded area. By this time their friendship had been severely strained by the extraordinary efforts to keep the secret of Hunter's pregnancy.

During their conversation Young told Edwards, "If he wasn't going to tell the truth about what transpired, then I was going to tell the truth."

Young told Edwards that he had saved voicemails, text messages, emails and photographs.

"You also told Mr. Edwards you had a private video of Miss Hunters?" Lowell asked.

At that point, the prosecution objected and the subject was not pressed.

Young said that Edwards was sweaty and "at one point I was scared for my life."

"Did you think John Edwards was going to shoot you?" Lowell asked.

"Not personally," Young answered.

"You thought there was a gunman in the woods who was going to come and shoot you?" the lawyer asked.

"That thought did cross my mind," he answered.

"Were you afraid there was a gun or a tape recorder?" Lowell asked.

"Both occurred to me," Young replied.

Edwards is on trial for allegedly using more than $900,000 in campaign donations illegally to hide Hunter and her pregnancy.  His defense, however, says the money was used to hide the affair from Edwards' wife and was not related to his presidential campaign.

They emphasized that point Friday by noting that in a book Young wrote about the affair he said that during the Aug. 18 car ride Edwards told his once trusted aide that he had already confessed to his wife, Elizabeth Edwards. "I have told Elizabeth and you can't hurt me," was the quote.

During his testimony this week, however, Young has said to the court that Edwards said simply, "You can't hurt me."

They have also depicted Young as a greedy liar who used the scandal for his own financial profit.

In Friday's testimony, Young conceded that he included as affair-related expenses trips with his family to Disneyland, Legoland, skiing in Aspen, and a trip to Mexico.

He also admitted spending $200,000 of the money to put in a pool at his home and wire it for audio.

Young testified earlier this week that he was told that hiding Hunter was the "most important" job in the campaign, even after Edwards dropped out of the race because he was hoping to become vice president or attorney general.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

John Edwards' Defense Says Key Witness Double Dipped on Expenses

Steve Exum/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- John Edwards' defense team battered the credibility of a key prosecution witness on Thursday, getting Andrew Young to admit that he double dipped on hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of expenses while hiding Edwards' pregnant mistress.

Defense lawyer Abbe Lowell also raised doubts about a series of statements that Young has made, and bolstered the defense's argument that Young used Edwards' sex scandal to enrich himself.

In a barrage of questions, Lowell suggested that Young volunteered to claim paternity for Edwards' pregnant mistress to make Edwards more indebted to him, and raised the possibility that it was Young who alerted the National Enquirer to the scandal, a suggestion Young denied.

Young is a crucial witness for the prosecution which accuses Edwards of using illegal donations from two supporters to hide the pregnancy of mistress Rielle Hunter during the 2008 presidential campaign.  Edwards, who twice ran for the presidency, could be sentenced to 30 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

Young has testified that he was assigned to keep Hunter hidden even after Edwards dropped out of the presidential race because Edwards was angling for a top spot, possibly vice president or attorney general.

Thursday was the second day of Lowell's grinding cross examination and he wrested a damaging admission from Young who conceded that he sought reimbursement from one of Edwards' wealthy backers -- Fred Baron -- for expenses already paid by another wealthy backer -- Rachel "Bunny" Mellon.

In March 2008, Young has testified, he provided Baron with a spread sheet of expenses he had incurred for the cover-up, totalling more than $200,000.  What Young didn't tell Baron is that he had already paid the expenses with Mellon's money which totalled $725,000.

Young has testified that the reason he didn't tell Baron about Mellon's money is that Edwards had instructed him to keep each donor in the dark about the other.

Baron gave Young $335,000 to cover Hunter's expenses, records show.

Young was building a house at the time and he conceded during testimony that "a substantial amount," of Mellon's money went into finishing a house he was building, and the plans expanded to include a swimming pool, to wire the house for audio and digital, and put a guest room in the attic.

Lowell also focused on Young's contention that Edwards lobbied him to handle the pregnancy scandal by claiming paternity.  The request was made, Young has claimed, in a phone call from Edwards on Dec. 13 while Young was shopping for an aquarium in a Petsmart store.

The deciding factor in agreeing to the charade, Young has said, was seeing a Newsweek magazine that had Edwards on the cover with the headline "The Sleeper," suggesting he could still win the presidency.

But Lowell produced evidence that the magazine cover was actually dated Dec. 24, and asked Young whether the Petsmart version was a made-up story.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

John Edwards Says 'Sun Is Out' After Ex-Aide Described as Liar

Steve Exum/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- John Edwards was clearly delighted Wednesday when his defense team ripped into the prosecution's main witness, portraying Andrew Young as a liar who tried to use Edwards' scandal to "make a lot of money."

"Oh the sun is out in more ways than one," Edwards said cheerfully as he left court Wednesday.

Young testified for two days about how he helped hide Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter while Edwards pursued the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and then kept her under wraps while Edwards angled for the vice president's spot on the ticket.

During much of his testimony, Edwards stared straight at Young.

Wednesday afternoon, Edwards' defense team began a cross examination of Young and zeroed in on inconsistencies and mistakes that Young made in television interviews, before a grand jury and in his book about the affair, The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down.

"Is it true in each and every one of those cases you've lied?" attorney Abbe Lowell asked Young. Young denied the suggestion.

Lowell accused Young of using knowledge of Edwards' affair with Hunter "to get leverage against him and make a lot of money."

"Isn't it fair you viewed Mr. Edwards as your ticket to the top and your only chance at prestige," Lowell asked. Young admitted he was ambitious and that "I believed working for a future president could lead to great things."

"You really hate him, don't you," Lowell pressed.

"I have mixed feelings," Young replied.

Under Lowell's questioning, Young also admitted that his nickname for Edwards' late wife Elizabeth was Ursula, the evil sea witch from "The Little Mermaid."

The blistering questioning will resume Thursday when Young is back on the stand.

Earlier in the day, Young testified that even after Edwards lost the presidential nomination, he was told that hiding Edwards' mistress was still "the most important job on the campaign" because Edwards was angling to be vice president.

Young told the court that living with Edwards' demanding girlfriend was unpleasant and that he began to suspect that Edwards was not going to keep promises made to Young.

The tension became so great that during a meeting, Edwards and Young came close to throwing punches, Young said Wednesday.

Young and his wife, Cheri, had been assigned by Edwards to keep Hunter hidden from the press, a job that put them on the road for months and became increasingly difficult after Edwards dropped out of the Democratic presidential race in 2008.

He testified that even though Edwards was out of the Democratic presidential race, Edwards and Fred Baron, Edwards' national campaign finance chairman, were still focused on a job possibly as vice president or attorney general.

"He told me I needed to stay focused on the job at hand," Young testified during his third day on the witness stand. "He told me to take a deep breath. Do the best I can....Mr. Baron wanted us to try and hold on until the Democratic National Convention."

Young said that Baron told him, "Cheri and I have the most important job on the campaign."

Edwards is accused of conspiring with others to use hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions during the 2008 presidential race to cover up his affair. His defense team has maintained that while the two-time presidential candidate's actions were deplorable, they were not illegal.

Young was accused of funneling money to Hunter and falsely claiming that her child was his. Young, who is married with three children, took an immunity deal with the prosecution.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr252012

Hiding John Edward's Mistress Was a Job

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- John Edwards' former aide testified today that even after Edwards lost the presidential nomination, he was told that hiding Edwards' mistress was still "the most important job on the campaign" because Edwards was angling to be vice president.

Andrew Young told the court that living with Edwards' demanding girlfriend Rielle Hunter was unpleasant and that he began to suspect that Edwards was not going to keep promises made to Young.

The tension became so great that during a meeting, Edwards and Young came close to throwing punches, Young said on Wednesday.

Young and his wife, Cheri, had been assigned by Edwards to keep Hunter hidden from the press, a job that put them on the road for months and became increasingly difficult after Edwards dropped out of the Democratic presidential race in 2008.

Young said that during a meeting in Texas with Fred Baron, Edwards' national campaign finance chairman, in the spring of 2008, they discussed the Youngs' long-term plans because the couple no longer wanted to live with Hunter.

He testified that even though Edwards was out of the Democratic presidential race, Edwards and Baron were still focused on a job possibly as vice president or attorney general.

"He told me I needed to stay focused on the job at hand," Young testified during his third day on the witness stand. "He told me to take a deep breath. Do the best I can. ... Mr. Baron wanted us to try and hold on until the Democratic National Convention."

Young said that Baron told him, "Cheri and I have the most important job on the campaign."

Edwards is accused of conspiring with others to use hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions during the 2008 presidential race to cover up his affair. His defense team has maintained that while the two-time presidential candidate's actions were deplorable, they were not illegal.

Young was accused of funneling money to Hunter and falsely claiming that her child was his. Young, who is married with three children, took an immunity deal with the prosecution.

In late December 2007, Young testified, he and a pregnant Hunter left North Carolina and went into hiding. Baron funded the trip that included stops in Florida and Baron's home in Colorado.

During that meeting with Baron in Texas, Young was told to summarize the expenses on Hunter.

A rundown of those expenses totaling more than $200,000 was shown in court today. The expenses included more than $28,000 for Hunter's BMW, $2,400 for housekeeping as well as $40,000 in cash as Hunter's allowance.

Young said that Baron told him that he and his family could never return to North Carolina because Edwards was going to be a very prominent person.

"Mr. Edwards, according to the media and what Fred Baron was saying, was going to be the vice presidential nominee and we needed to keep the cover-up going," Young testified.

He said that Baron told him to sell his home, which was still under construction, and "create a new life."

Young said he became increasingly upset because after Edwards dropped out in 2008 and Hunter's baby was born, Edwards cut off contact with Young.

Young said that in June, he and Edwards had an angry meeting in Washington D.C. Young said that he told Edwards he was unhappy and explained his concerns.

"We had a very angry exchange," he told the court today. He said the two started yelling at each other and nearly came to blows. Before the two parted, Young testified, Edwards told Young that he loved him and would never abandon him.

On Tuesday, Young testified that he and his wife were "scared to death" as they accepted checks as large as $150,000 marked as payment for furniture when the money was really meant to help hide Edwards' affair with Hunter.

The money came from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, a wealthy philanthropist who made the personal checks out to her friend and interior decorator. The friend, Bryan Huffman, would co-sign checks with Cheri Young in her maiden name, he said. Young said his wife would then deposit the checks into their own account.

Young said that Edwards insisted that it was not illegal and that no one was going to get in trouble.

In June 2008, Young said today, his requests to Mellon for money escalated with a plea for help in setting up a poverty foundation with up to $40 million. He said that she got very upset, accusing him and Edwards of using her for her money.

Young said that when he told Edwards of Mellon's reaction, Edwards laughed.

"He said, 'The good news is it's doable,'" Young said. "He said, 'I will calm Mrs. Mellon.'"

The former aide also testified today that Baron, who was being treated for cancer at the Mayo Clinic, had gotten very angry after Young told him that the National Enquirer had caught Edwards visiting Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in July 2008.

"He started cussing Mr. Edwards out," Young said. "[He said:] 'What the f--k was he thinking? He's ruined everything we've worked for.'"

In August, Edwards admitted in an ABC News interview that he'd had an extramarital affair, but said that he was not the father of Hunter's baby. Young said today that he didn't think the interview was a good idea at the time but that he'd told Edwards, "Tell the whole truth or don't do anything at all."

Young said after the interview -- during which Edwards also said he didn't know whether Young was the father -- he was extremely angry. "I didn't understand why Mr. Edwards didn't clear my name," Young said.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Criminal Trial Pits John Edwards Against Once-Trusted Aide

Steve Exum/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- They were once partners in a lie so spectacular it could have altered the course of a presidential election.

John Edwards, a contender for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, and Andrew Young, a once close personal and political aide to the candidate, allegedly conspired together in an elaborate and expensive scheme to hide Rielle Hunter, Edwards’ pregnant mistress, in the midst of the primary campaign.

So devoted was Young, a married man with three children of his own, that he savaged his own future by falsely claiming paternity of Hunter’s child, issuing a public statement designed to throw the political press corps off the scent of the scandal.  Young says the ruse was Edwards’ idea.

“And the most crazy thing about it is,” Young told ABC News' 20/20, “is that it did work.”

That assessment, of course, allows for a generous definition of success.

Edwards continued his campaign but voters in Iowa and New Hampshire rejected his message and turned the primary race into a two person race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

By the time Edwards suspended his campaign in late January 2008, Young was in hiding in California with his family and Rielle Hunter, who gave birth to a baby girl in Santa Barbara a month later.  Edwards continued to deny he was the father until finally acknowledging paternity in early 2010

Now, as Edwards’ criminal trial is set to begin Monday in federal court in Greensboro, N.C., Young is poised to be the key witness for the prosecution that aims to prove Edwards illegally conspired with Young and others to use hundreds of thousand of dollars in illegal campaign cash to hide Hunter.

Young, who has an immunity deal with prosecutors, has been accused by the defense of siphoning off thousands of dollars of that cash and spending it on himself.

And because both Edwards and Young have a history of lying about the events leading up to the trial, the stage is set for some dramatic courtroom moments.

“I think John Edwards’ own lawyers are going to have to attack John Edwards,” observes Dan Abrams, legal analyst for ABC News.  “They’re going to have to talk about John Edwards as a flawed man and a flawed human being who made some big mistakes.”

Similarly, the government will -- in some measure -- have to go after Young, its most important witness, in order to blunt the impact of what is sure to be an aggressive assault by the defense on Young’s credibility.

“This is the guy that publicly claimed that the baby was his,” notes Abrams.  “That makes [Young] an absolutely crucial witness in connection with this case.  The defense team is going to go after him.  They’re going to go after his credibility, why he’s saying this, why he’s doing this; and how effective the defense is in cross examining Andrew Young could make or break this case.”

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr122012

John Edwards’ Lawyers Seek Financial Records of Key Witness

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- A federal judge overseeing the criminal trial of former Sen. John Edwards has scheduled a hearing for next Monday to determine if the defense team will be given access to a trove of detailed financial information from key prosecution witness Andrew Young, the former aide to Edwards who authored a tell-all book about the scandal.

Edwards’ efforts to obtain the records were first revealed in court documents filed late Wednesday.

David Harris, an accountant for Young and wife, Cheri, filed a motion to quash a subpoena served on him earlier this month.

“Compliance with the [s]ubpoena is unreasonable and oppressive,” Harris’ motion states, because the Youngs have not given consent to produce the materials, and there is no court order requiring the accounting firm to comply.

The subpoena seeks tax returns and details on the Youngs’ income and assets dating back to 2006.  The defense team is also asking for any records of money or gifts the couple may have received from Fred Baron and Bunny Mellon, the two donors who allegedly funneled more than $900,000 into the cover-up of Edwards’ affair.

In pre-trial motions over the past several months, Edwards’ defense team has strongly signaled its intent to aggressively attack Young as a biased witness with a profit motive and a vendetta against his former boss.  They have noted in court filings that the Youngs controlled the money and used some of it to help build their “dream home” on a wooded hilltop overlooking Chapel Hill.

Young’s book, The Politician, was a hot seller in 2010 -- and the Youngs have sold the movie rights to their story to Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.   Edwards’ subpoena seeks all financial documents related to the book and movie deals.

In the book -- and in subsequent interviews with ABC News -- Young has acknowledged that he and his wife spent some of the money on themselves, but claimed it was all done in furtherance of the cover-up -- with the aim of keeping Edwards’ political future viable.

“It all went into a mixed pot,” Young told ABC in January 2010.   “A lot of the money went into the house, a lot of it went into the care and feeding of Rielle.  I mean, having a baby is very expensive without health insurance.”

As the Iowa caucuses approached, Young eventually went so far as to falsely claim paternity of Hunter’s child.  Then Young, his wife and three children secreted away with Hunter on a cross-country odyssey, flying on private jets and staying in luxurious homes and hotels -- all paid for, Young says, with money from Baron and Mellon.  The indictment alleges that, in all, more than $900,000 was spent to keep Edwards’ pregnant mistress under wraps.

“There was money being spent all over the place,” Young says. 

"But unequivocally, everything that I did, in terms of procuring money, spending money or where monies went, was done at the direction of  Fred Baron and John Edwards.  And for anybody to say that I misdirected funds is ridiculous.”

Edwards, 58, has pleaded not guilty to all charges in a six-count federal indictment for allegedly soliciting illegal contributions from Baron and Mellon to help hide Hunter during the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary campaign.  Jury selection in the highly-anticipated trial got under way Thursday morning in Greensboro, N.C.

U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Eagles addressed nearly 200 potential jurors Thursday reminding them that this case “is not about whether Mr. Edwards was a good husband or politician.  It’s about whether he violated campaign finance laws.”

Edwards -- who built a successful and lucrative career trying cases in front of North Carolina juries -- took care to smile and make eye contact with the jurors as the judge introduced him as the defendant in the case.  Edwards’ eldest daughter, Cate, and his parents, Wallace and Bobbie, sat quietly among the spectators.

The trial is scheduled to begin on April 23 and could last six weeks or more.  Andrew Young is expected to be the first witness called by the prosecution.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio