As the World of John Edwards Turns
April 24, 2012 - 10:00 am
When last we left the soap opera that is the John Edwards trial, former loyal aide turned government witness Andrew Young was testifying about how he covered up the presidential candidate’s relationship with his former mistress, Rielle Hunter. Edwards is accused of conspiring to use nearly $1 million in secret payments to help hide his pregnant mistress in 2008.
Young testified that Edwards’ aides sought money from several people in 2007 to hide Rielle Hunter while Edwards was running for the 2008 presidential nomination.
Young says money from heiress Rachel “Bunny” Mellon started flowing in June 2007 with two checks totaling $35,000. Young says the money was deposited in a bank account controlled by him and his wife, Cheri.
Young says Edwards assured him the money was legal.
Young testified to the way the donations were laundered.
Mellon made the personal checks out to her interior decorator, who would co-sign checks with Young’s wife in the wife’s maiden name, he said. Young said his wife would then deposit the checks into their own account.
“She thought it was crazy and was scared to death,” Young said today about his wife’s initial reaction. Eventually she relented, he said, as Edwards insisted that it was not illegal and that no one was going to get in trouble.
The first two checks from Mellon were $10,000 and $25,000 in the summer of 2007, he said.
Young stared straight ahead during his testimony and Edwards stared straight at Young.
Ooh – drama. Of course, no network TV exec would ever dream up any plot so sordid. Young ended up claiming that Hunter’s love child was his, and after his bust, took an immunity deal to avoid jail. His claims that he didn’t know the transactions were illegal are questionable given the lengths he and Edwards went to hide the origins of the cash – and Edwards relationship with Hunter from his cancer-stricken wife:
Young also talked about the moment when Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, realized something was going on. John Edwards was asleep and Hunter called his cell phone. Elizabeth Edwards picked up and didn’t say anything as Hunter started talking because she thought it was her lover who had picked up.
After Elizabeth Edwards hung up without speaking, she woke up her husband and told him to fire Hunter.
John Edwards fired Hunter the next morning, but the relationship continued. Elizabeth Edwards, who was battling cancer at the time, switched cell phones with her husband. But to get around this, Andrew Young would call to talk to John Edwards and then would three-way call Hunter so they could speak to one another without Elizabeth Edwards finding out.
Elizabeth Edwards died in 2010.
Both men can best be described using that wonderfully descriptive English word “cad.”