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Nation

Former aide’s wife critical of John Edwards

Tells why she lied about paternity

GREENSBORO, N.C. - The wife of a former aide to John Edwards rebuffed questions Tuesday about whether she has any incentive to lie to hurt the former presidential candidate.

“It was a lie when we accepted paternity for your client and that is why we are here today,’’ Cheri Young told the jury in response to one of Edwards’s defense lawyers.

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Her husband, Andrew Young, was among Edwards’s closest aides in 2007, when the couple became embroiled in a yearlong effort to cover up the former US senator’s extramarital affair and the resulting pregnancy.

Both Youngs have testified at Edwards’s campaign finance corruption trial that the candidate asked Andrew Young to issue a statement falsely claiming paternity of the child Edwards fathered with his mistress, Rielle Hunter. At the time, Edwards was a top-tier presidential candidate and it was just weeks away from the crucial Iowa caucuses.

In his cross examination of Cheri Young, defense lawyer Alan Duncan suggested the couple made a lot of money from the scandal.

They kept about $1 million secretly provided by two wealthy campaign supporters while the couple was helped hide and care for the pregnant mistress. The Youngs also made hundreds of thousands of dollars from Andrew Young’s 2010 tell-all book about the affair and by selling the movie rights to their story.

Cheri Young agreed they had made money, but reiterated that it was Edwards’s lies that prompted them to go public. Edwards had promised to admit the baby was his after Hunter gave birth in February 2008, but instead went on national television to lie about the affair.

After years of adamant public denials, Edwards acknowledged paternity of Hunter’s daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter, days before the release of Andrew Young’s book in 2010.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six counts related to campaign finance violations. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted on all counts.

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