Wife of Edwards aide breaks down on witness stand

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Cheri Young took the witness stand late Friday after a full week of testimony by her husband, a former fundraiser and close aide to Edwards.

Though Andrew Young testified last week that the couple spent much of the money provided by the donors to build his family’s $1.5 million home, the couple also supported the pregnant mistress out of their checking account, paying for her medical care, a BMW, a $2,700-a-month rental house and a monthly allowance of thousands of dollars in cash.

Cheri Young said she agreed to handle the money because if the public found out about Edwards‘ affair with Hunter, the campaign and her husband’s job were in danger.

“I cannot tell you how disgusted I was. Why me? This was my husband’s fight,” she said. “Now I had to fix it.”

After reporters for the National Enquirer tracked Hunter down in December 2007 and the Youngs agreed for Andrew to issue a public statement accepting paternity, they embarked with the pregnant mistress on a cross-country odyssey of private jets and luxury retreats, all paid for by Baron.

Eventually they settled into a $20,000-a-month rental mansion Baron paid for in Santa Barbara, Calif. Cheri Young said Hunter chose the location because that was where her “healer and spiritual advisor” lived.

Cheri Young said Hunter also had her write checks totaling thousands of dollars to the New Age healer, Bob McGovern, whom the mistress said she wanted to be with her when she gave birth.

There was also tension between the Youngs’ family and Hunter.

“We were not allowed to touch the baby,” Cheri Young testified. “My kids were not allowed anywhere they might breathe on the baby.”

Edwards had also stopped returning Andrew’s calls, prompting the Youngs to fly to Texas to meet Baron at his home. They met with Baron and his wife, Lisa Blue.

Cheri Young said she told Baron she wanted to go home, but he told them they could never return to North Carolina or live close to the politician. Baron’s wife, a lawyer and psychologist, had recently visited the Edwardses and she advised them to steer clear of Elizabeth, who was angry with the Youngs over their role in her husband’s affair.

“’Mrs. Edwards is not well,” Young recounted Blue as saying. “‘I’m a doctor and she is not mentally healthy. There is a very good chance she would be a harm to you and your family.’”

Blue is expected to testify later in the trial. Baron died of cancer in October 2008.

After a mid-afternoon break, a lawyer for Cheri Young told the judge she was suffering from a migraine. The judge dismissed the jury early, telling them Young was expected to retake the stand Tuesday.

After Young completes her testimony, the next witness called by prosecutors could be Josh Brumberger, a young aide who was with Edwards on the night in 2006 when Hunter walked up to the candidate in the bar of a New York hotel and introduced herself. Brumberger was later pushed aside by Edwards after he tried to dissuade his boss from continuing with the affair.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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