By Debbie Emery - Radar Reporter
After her husband Andrew Young took the stand for a week of grueling testimony in the John Edwards campaign finance violation trial, it was the turn of Cheri Young to testify on Monday and the emotional experience brought her to tears.
The wife of the shamed senator’s former aide told the Greensboro, North Carolina courtroom the extent of the stress endured by her family while they struggled to cover up Edwards' affair and love child with Rielle Hunter, reported MSNBC.com.
When she was initially told about Edwards’ illicit request to help cover up the scandal, Cheri revealed that her first thought was, “How in the world could Mr. Edwards ask one more thing of me of us?’ Of course, I said absolutely not," Young testified, saying she screamed and cursed at her husband over the immoral favor.
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, the 58-year-old is accused of illegally channeling almost $1 million in campaign contributions to cover up his affair, and subsequent love child, with Hunter, his campaign videographer. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to the six counts he's accused of: four counts of illegal campaign contributions, one count of conspiracy and one count of false statements.
During his testimony last week, Andrew Young told the court that in the spring of 2008 he was told that even after the shamed senator lost his presidential campaign, hiding his mistress was still "the most important job on the campaign," because Edwards still had political aspirations.
Cheri is now a pivotal witness in the case because she was asked to countersign checks from one of the donors, which were routed through her decorator. "Mr. Edwards was trying to get everyone on board,” she explained.
His urging that they were so close to reaching their goals intensified the pressure she felt to conform to his requests, explained Cheri. I "didn't want the responsibility of knowing that because I didn't go along with this ... that the campaign would explode and it would be my fault. So I ultimately agreed to go along with the lie," she said, while breaking down into tears.
John claimed his main concern was that his ailing wife, Elizabeth Edwards, didn’t find out about the illicit relationship. In January 2010, Edwards finally admitted publicly that he'd fathered the now-4-year-old girl, Frances Quinn Hunter, out-of-wedlock with Hunter. Shortly after his admission, John and his late wife legally separated. Elizabeth died that December after a 6-year battle against breast cancer.
"He didn't want her (Elizabeth) to find out at that point because she was going to die soon," she explained.
Young made it clear that there was no love lost between her and Hunter, who moved into her home after she was photographed outside her New Jersey house.
"She took a big spin and said, 'I'm here!'" revealed Young, who said it was intimidating to have "a presidential candidate's pregnant mistress coming to my house that night, last minute."
Some of the $1 million in money from supporters of Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign that was allegedly funneled to support Hunter and the Youngs went to Rielle’s "spiritual adviser," whom she once called when she got the wrong sauce on her Rueben sandwich, Young testified.
When the affair finally did come to light thanks to an exclusive story in the National Enquirer, Young didn’t have much sympathy for Edwards or Hunter, and recalled thinking: "Oh, my God. ... Well, I wanted to say 'I told you so,' but I didn't,” she said.
Also in Monday’s proceedings, it was revealed that a sex tape made by Edwards and Hunter will be allowed as testimony. Questions that will no doubt be asked by Edwards’ lawyers include whether former aide Andrew stole the video from Hunter, whether he tried to sell it, and whether he threatened Edwards with it when the effort to hide Hunter was unraveling, reported ABCNews.com.
The trial could last as long as six weeks and if he is convicted on all six counts, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
John Edwards Ex-Aide Portrayed As A Money-Hungry Secret-Seller By Defense