Edwardses Take Hit From Another Book
In a national news broadcast Friday, a former aide to John Edwards offered a damning account of the humiliated senator's behavior.
Andrew Young, widely known for claiming he was the father of Edwards' child as part of a cover-up, spoke out on ABC's "20/20" Friday, in advance of the release of his new book, "The Politician," which started hitting the shelves Saturday.
Edwards, a former U.S. senator and presidential contender who grew up in Robbins, recently admitted fathering the child with Rielle Hunter, a videographer, in the early days of his 2008 -presidential campaign, after months of denials. The child, Frances Quinn Hunter, is almost 2 years old.
Last week, media reports confirmed that Edwards and his wife of 32 years, Elizabeth, had legally separated.
Young appeared on the program with his wife, Cheri. ABC's Bob Woodruff interviewed them. He also interviewed Edwards in August 2008 after he confessed having the affair with Hunter.
Edwards told Woodruff then that the affair was brief, but Young paints a picture showing that it lasted much longer, and that Edwards even wanted to marry Hunter. According to Young, a Dave Matthews Band song was their favorite, and Edwards discussed having the group play at their wedding one day.
Young alleges that Edwards asked him to claim responsibility for fathering the child to conceal the affair as he mounted his presidential campaign.
According to Young, Edwards and his financial backers offered to take care of him and his family in exchange.
Young also claimed that Edwards suggested falsifying a DNA test to prevent news of his paternity from getting out and that he wanted to conduct a secret DNA test to find out if he really was the father of the baby.
Young claims that he received hundreds of thousands of dollars from an Edwards supporter, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. Another Edwards backer, Texas attorney Fred Baron, admitted before his death in 2008 that he paid money to Hunter out of his own pocket.
A federal grand jury is investigating whether the Edwards presidential campaign improperly used campaign funds to cover up the affair. Edwards has denied any wrongdoing.
The Youngs described going into hiding with the pregnant Hunter for a matter of months, which included extravagant trips to Colorado and California. Cheri Young shared home movies of the trips with ABC, which showed Hunter - who was using a different alias at the time - in them.
Perhaps the most lurid detail of the Youngs' story is that they claim to have found an explicit sex tape of Edwards and a woman they believe is Hunter (the woman's face is not shown, apparently).
Hunter filed a restraining order in Orange County, where the Edwardses have a home, last week to force the Youngs to return videos and photos belonging to her, including an intimate tape she said was made in 2006.
Young said he kept records of voice mails and other communications between him and the Edwardses and decided to go public when he and Edwards fell out.
Young recalled his last conversation with Edwards in a car ride near Chapel Hill. Edwards allegedly told Young that there was nothing Young could do to "hurt him."
Some of the voice mails Young shared with ABC included John Edwards going over a protocol to use if Elizabeth was listening in on their phone conversations and a clearly angry Elizabeth Edwards ordering Young and his "concubine" (Hunter) to stay away from her family.
Separate statements issued on John and Elizabeth Edwards' behalf claim that Young's account is exaggerated and even false, and that he is simply trying to make money off a sensationalized book.
Now a political pariah, Edwards has largely fallen into oblivion, and a return to public life seems highly unlikely.
Recent polls affirm that Edwards is extremely unpopular. A Wall Street Journal poll indicated that he was the most disappointing public figure of 2009.
Elizabeth Edwards, who has been widely admired for showing grace and strength in the face of her cancer diagnosis, has also taken a public relations hit. Both the Young book and another - "Game Change" - have portrayed her as being demanding and even demeaning to her husband and his staff.
The Youngs apologized on the broadcast for their involvement in the elaborate scheme to cover up the matter.
Contact John Krahnert III at (910) 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
More like this story