(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.
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