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John Edwards Trial: Adultery, Fear, and Coverup

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John Edwards, known to his friends as “Johnny”, born in 1953, and at that time named Johnny Reid, went on to be a senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2004, and ran for the presidency in 2008.

John Edwards, handsome, polished, and well-schooled in political correctness is on trial in a Greensboro, North Carolina, federal court for charges that he misspent nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions that he used to prevent the public from learning about his mistress, and the details of her pregnancy. Edwards is married. He and wife Elizabeth married in 1977, and that marriage produced four children. Edwards’s eldest son, Wade, was killed in a tragic auto crash in 1996, as strong winds sent his Jeep off a North Carolina highway. A few short weeks later, Wade Edwards was honored by First Lady Hillary Clinton as a finalist in an essay contest in which the young man’s essay reminisced about entering a voting booth with his celebrated father.

The just beginning court case revolves around Edwards’s mistress, one time campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter. When Hunter became pregnant and gave birth in 2008 to a girl named Frances Quinn Hunter, Edwards denied his fathering of the child for two years; he admitted to it in 2010. The money that John Edwards used in the unsuccessful cover up of Rielle’s pregnancy came from Edwards’ national campaign finance chairman, Texas lawyer Fred Baron, and campaign donor, heiress and socialite Rachel “Bunny” Mellon. If convicted of violating federal election finance laws Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine. According to one witness, Fred Baron, now deceased, sought to calm Elizabeth Edwards by calling Rielle a “loose cannon” who had to be kept happy lest she go to the press.

Key to the case is former campaign aide Andrew Young. Young ran the Edwards household, kept the family cars in top shape, and often worked dawn to dusk for the Edwards family. It was Young who handled the money, most of which was intended for the care and expenses of mistress Rielle Hunter. Andrew Young falsely claimed to be the father of Edwards’ baby. The government must prove that John Edwards knew about the use of funds for the care of Rielle Hunter. The contributions were illegal from the onset, as both contributors had already contributed the maximum amount allowed under federal law. Young and his family, including his three children, spent the money on trips to Aspen, expensive hotels in the West, and a home in Santa Barbara, California, as they awaited the outcome of the 2008 presidential election.

First to testify early last week was Andrew Young, the keeper of the household. In a 2008 interview with Gentleman’s Quarterly, Young said, “I love Johnny [Edwards] and I love my daughter more than anything in the world.” At that time Young was still claiming paternity of the child. In court, Andrew Young testified that John Edwards referred to Ms. Hunter as a “crazy slut” when he learned she was pregnant. He recalled that during a crucial conversation, he told Edwards, “If he wasn’t going to tell the truth about what transpired, then I was going to tell the truth.” He said he was severely strained by his ongoing effort to keep the secret of the Hunter pregnancy. Attempting to convince Edwards to come forward with the truth, he told Edwards he had saved voicemails, text messages, emails, photographs and a sex video of Edwards and Hunter.

Young admitted he was frightened and concerned for his life. He described his last conversation with John Edwards, August 18, 2008, riding in a car near a wooded area. “Did you think John Edwards was going to shoot you?”  a government prosecutor asked. “[Is it true that] you thought there was a gunman in the woods who was going to come and shoot you?” Young conceded that “That thought did cross my mind.” Young also testified that he had been intimidated by Baron and Mellon, the major contributors to the Edwards campaign.

Cheri Young, wife of Andrew Young testified on Friday that “Andrew was mesmerized by John Edwards.” Asked about the false claims that her husband Andrew was the child’s father, she said, “I was not happy with it. It was maddening to me. Andrew had no responsibilities at home.” Mrs. Young is a pediatric nurse, 38 years of age. She further testified that the “Tensions of life in Washington” sent her back to North Carolina.

The trial is still in its early stages. Rielle Hunter is on the witness list, as is Edwards’ oldest daughter, Cate Edwards.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • surfing2day

    Interesting article, but needs to be edited because “Young” is being referrred to as “Hunter” in some places.

  • John Lake

    #1
    surfing2day: You are quite right. all the errors of that type are in the first paragraph on page 2. I will contact the BC editors to see if that can be resolved. But, this is a weekend… Thanks!

  • John Lake

    BC editors Chris Rose and Clavos were quick and responsive. The errors are corrected.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Right wingers keep complaining about Obama being a narcissist. IMO they’re looking in the wrong place.

  • John Lake

    Obama sings all right, but never let him write jokes.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Think of anything – anything at all – bad to say about Obama, and you’ll find the Republican base agreeing wholeheartedly with you.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    I haven’t found that, Glenn.

    From what I’ve seen and read, when a liberal says something critical of Obama the response from the right tends to be silence. I think it’s because they don’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t fit their narrative – “Obamabots”, “Kool-Aid drinkers”, “you’re either with us or against us”, etc.

  • John Lake

    The only guilt I see is in donors Baron and Melon. They gave Edwards about a million dollars between them. The money was handled by Andrew Young who used it as he saw fit. Baron is now dead, and Mellon is 101 years old. In fact they likely turned the money over to Edwards for his use; but they called it “political or campaign donations” for tax purposes. They probably didn’t itemize.

  • Clavos

    From what I’ve seen and read, when a liberal says something critical of Obama the response from the right tends to be silence. I think it’s because they don’t know what to do with it. It doesn’t fit their narrative…

    Well, that would certainly be the case if we were all stupid.

    Oh, wait, I forgot! We are!

    Has one of you actually ever said anything bad about obie?

    Must have missed that day.

  • John Lake

    Just awful how he covered up that batched raid in Pakistan!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Has one of you actually ever said anything bad about obie?

    Numerous times. The slavish continuation of the Patriot Act, the refusal to support gay marriage, the constant caving to Congress etc.

    In fact, I was fairly certain I’d said something critical recently of Obama’s inappropriate use of his appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s show to push a campaign issue, but must have got distracted and/or abandoned the comment before posting it, since I can’t find it. For the record, though, here it is.

    Not cricket, Mr President.

  • John Lake

    Pardon my impulsiveness at jumping to point out my objectivity.
    The Obama admin has been once again seeking to make Secretary Clinton appear competent and confident. In fact many issues are much too important to be handled by the schoolgirl tourist.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Oh, wait, I forgot! We are [stupid]!

    No, you aren’t – but who was elected in 2000 and 2004 by tens of millions of conservative Americans? Someone that was truly stupid.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    No, you aren’t – but who was elected in 2000 and 2004 by tens of millions of conservative Americans?

    You know, we can actually figure this out.

    Given that a sucker is born every minute, and that about 267 people are born every minute; and assuming that the ratio of suckers born in the United States is close to the global average; and given that the current US population is about 313.5 million, that about 76% of those are of voting age, that about 53% of those turned out to vote in ’00 and ’04, and that about half of those people voted Republican, then by a simple calculation we find that only 236,475 stupid people voted for Bush.

  • zingzing

    “Has one of you actually ever said anything bad about obie?”

    proving doc’s point there, clavos…

  • Igor

    “…only 236,475 stupid people voted for Bush.”

    Ah, but about 10,000 of those were in Florida…

  • zingzing

    now, now, they weren’t stupid in florida. they were just senile. take a shit on a stupid person and they’ll still be able to figure out they don’t like it. it’s only the senile that are perfectly comfortable while covered in shit.

  • Clavos

    it’s only the senile that are perfectly comfortable while covered in shit.

    And yet, practically no one in the Barack Hussein administration is old enough to be senile.

    Premature senility. Go figure.

    Igor: Only 10K? Didn’t he get more than 10K votes in Florida?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    And yet, practically no one in the Barack Hussein administration is old enough to be senile.

    Which is why they don’t go around invading other nations on false pretexts like a certain prematurely-senile president did.

  • Igor

    Clavos, the margin was less than 10,000.

  • Clavos

    @#20: Oh really, Igor? According to Wikipedia:

    Candidate Votes

    Barack Obama 4,282,074

    John McCain 4,045,624

    I majored in literature and writing, so my math skills aren’t the greatest, but I believe that’s a margin much greater than 10K votes.

  • Clavos

    Sorry, Igor, I obviously got my campaigns and candidates confused.

    However, again from Wikipedia, the Florida margin in 2004 was:

    Bush 3,964,522

    Kerry 3,583,544

    In 2000, the original count margin WAS fewer than 10K votes, but still, 2,912,790 voted for Bush — far more than 10K.