(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
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