John Edwards trial: Andrew Young’s credibility questioned by defense

Dylan Stableford

Andrew Young, John Edwards' former aide, was on the witness stand for the fourth consecutive day in the criminal conspiracy trial against his former boss, enduring a second day of cross-examination by Edwards' defense team.

Lawyers for the former presidential candidate questioned the credibility of Young, the prosecution's star witness, who wrote a 2010 tell-all book about his role in trying to conceal Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter.

Defense lawyer Abbe Lowell attacked Young's timeline of events, pointing out inconsistencies between his testimony and what he wrote in his book, including the date he learned Hunter was pregnant with Edwards' child. (In the book, Young asserts it was May 2007; in testimony to the court, he said it was June.)

Lowell also questioned the dollar figure Young claims that the wealthy heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon said she would give the campaign to help hide Edwards' mistress. (In grand jury testimony before the trial, Young said it was $925,000; this week, he said it was $1.2 million.)

"As Lowell's detailed questioning continued," the Associated Press reported, "some jurors appeared distracted and even U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles grew impatient."

Young's testimony was expected to wrap up Thursday; his wife, Cheri Young, is expected to take the stand on Friday.

Also on Thursday, Eagles rejected "what appears to be a bid by [Hunter] to keep some of the trial exhibits secret," Politico reported.

"Ms. Hunter has not established any specific grounds that justify her extremely broad request, nor has she addressed the public's right of access or given any notice of her request to limit that access," Eagles wrote in a court order. "Moreover, the Court is not inclined to rule on hypothetical circumstances that may or may not arise. If Ms. Hunter objects to public access to an exhibit that is received into evidence and that the Court indicates in open court will be available to the public for review, she may file a written objection, motion, or other appropriate pleading."

Hunter is on the witness lists of both the prosecution and the defense, though it is unclear if she will take the stand. Mellon, who is 101, is "physically unable" to appear in court.

On Wednesday, Young offered more details about how Edwards instructed him to hide Huntereven after the candidate dropped out of the 2008 presidential race.

Edwards faces six criminal counts—including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of making false statements—for allegedly soliciting and secretly spending over $925,000 to cover up his affair with Hunter. If convicted on all six counts, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

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