April 24, 2012
Andrew Young, the former campaign staff member who once claimed paternity of a child that former SenatorJohn Edwards had fathered during an extramarital affair and sought to conceal, is scheduled to be on the stand for a second day on Tuesday as the prosecution’s star witness in Mr. Edwards’s federal corruption trial.
On Monday, David V. Harbach II, who is directing the prosecution team, walked the jury through Mr. Young’s relationship with the Edwards family and his connections to Rachel Mellon, a banking heiress who contributed $725,000 of the money at the heart of the case and said she would do anything to support Mr. Edwards’s presidential campaign.
Ms. Mellon was reportedly infuriated by criticism that Mr. Edwards received for getting expensive haircuts. “From now on, all haircuts, etc., that are necessary and important for his campaign — please send the bills to me — it’s a way to help our friend without government restrictions,” she wrote in a note to Mr. Young.
Mr. Young, who has immunity from prosecution, is at the center of the government’s effort to prove that Mr. Edwards, a two-time presidential hopeful, clearly knew that nearly $1 million from Ms. Mellon and another wealthy donor were illegal campaign contributions and not, as he has claimed, aid from friends trying to help him hide an affair from his wife, Elizabeth Edwards. Mrs. Edwards died in 2010 after a public battle with breast cancer.
“It’s not a federal crime to have an affair,” Mr. Harbach said in his opening arguments. “That is not the reason to convict him. At the end of this trial, there will be plenty of reasons to do so.”
The defense countered that the payment was largely a scam by Mr. Young and his wife, Cheri, to siphon hundreds of thousands of dollars from Ms. Mellon to build a house in Chapel Hill not far from the Edwards family estate.
Besides haircuts, payments went to cover the medical expenses of Mr. Edwards’s mistress,Rielle Hunter, who gave birth to their daughter in 2008, and to keep his affair with her secret. Mr. Edwards went along with this plan, a defense lawyer said, to avoid humiliation for himself and his wife.
“It never crossed his mind that the money would be in violation of campaign finance law,” Allison Van Laningham, a defense lawyer from Greensboro, told the jury. For Mr. Edwards, she said, the episode has been “the destruction of pride and the birth of humility.”
“John Edwards is a man who committed many sins,” she said, “but no crime.”
The choice of Ms. Van Laningham, with her sometimes rushed delivery and slight Southern drawl, suggested that Abbe Lowell, the Washington lawyer leading Mr. Edwards’s team, made a strategic choice to rely on a local lawyer to introduce the defense case to the jury, which was seated earlier in the day.
The 12 members of the jury and the four alternates include six African-Americans and a few Republican donors, and are almost equally split between men and women. The members come largely from the more rural middle of the state.
The trial is likely to come down to whom the jurors believe: Mr. Edwards or Mr. Young. The defense argued that Mr. Young took money from Ms. Mellon without Mr. Edwards’s knowledge and put it in his own bank account, and that many of the facts in the book he wrote, “The Politician” were, by Mr. Young’s own admission, inaccurate.
As if to insulate his star witness, Mr. Harbach spent the afternoon showing how an idealistic Mr. Young worked his way into Mr. Edwards’s inner circle, beginning in his Senate office, sometimes serving as his personal aide. They often traveled alone together and, once Mr. Edwards left the Senate to pursue the presidency, Mr. Young became a kind of errand-runner and caretaker for the Edwards family.
“You will not like him,” Mr. Harbach said.
He urged Mr. Young to explain two alcohol-related driving offenses, and to talk about the moment he realized that Mr. Edwards and Ms. Hunter were having an affair. Mr. Edwards, who usually watched sports with Mr. Young, turned down an offer to watch a game while they were staying at a hotel. Minutes later, Ms. Hunter, who was making videos of the campaign, called to check her schedule for the next day. Mr. Young heard Mr. Edwards in the background.
The next morning, Mr. Edwards had Mr. Young drop Ms. Hunter off at the airport before they continued to a lunch with Ms. Mellon.
Listening to those details of the budding scandal that destroyed Mr. Edwards’s career and reputation was Mr. Edwards’s eldest daughter, Cate Edwards Upham, a lawyer who was helping advise his defense team. Mr. Edwards’s parents, Bobbie and Wallace, sat next to her, on cushions they brought from home.
The trial is expected to last six weeks. If he is convicted on all six counts, Mr. Edwards, 58, faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
Andrew Young was born on March 23rd, 1966 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Young_(political_operative)
March 23rd, 1966
3 + 23 +2+0+1+2 = 31 = his personal year (from March 23rd, 2012 to March 22nd, 2013) = Scandal. Controversy. Things get out of hand.
31 year + 4 (April) = 35 = his personal month (from April 23rd, 2012 to May 22nd, 2012) = Guarded. Defending himself.
35 month + 24 (24th of the month on Tuesday April 24th, 2012) = 59 = his personal day = Mudslinging. Everything falls apart. Getting crucified.
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