John Edwards, Mistress and Daughter May Testify in Trial
(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — John Edwards and his mistress Rielle Hunter might both be called to the witness stand Wednesday, delivering explosive back-to-back testimony and concluding nearly a month of court proceedings that have laid bare the steamy details of their affair and the trail of money used to cover it up.
Additionally, Edwards lawyers said Tuesday, they potentially will call Edwards’ adult daughter Cate Edwards as well as Andrew Young, once Edwards’ most trusted aide who helped hide Edwards’ affair and even claimed paternity of his love child.
Edwards is on trial for allegedly using nearly $1 million in donations to hide Hunter and later their baby daughter during his quest for the 2008 presidential nomination. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Edwards’ defense team submitted the potential witness lineup at the end of proceedings Tuesday. It could be a blockbuster finish to a trial that has proceeded more like a Shakespearian tragedy than a hearing on campaign finances.
It is uncertain whether John Edwards will testify because that would open him up to a withering cross-examination by prosecutors, and it has already been established that Edwards lied at different times about much of the case, including about fathering Hunter’s child.
An even greater unknown is Hunter. Since conducting a handful of interviews in 2010, Hunter has remained largely unseen and unheard. The current status of her relationship with Edwards remains unknown.
Hunter was listed as a potential prosecution witness as well, but the government never called her to the stand in three weeks of arguments. Though she is at the center of the scandal, lawyers for both sides may be too nervous to call her, unaware of just exactly what she might say.
Listing Edwards and Hunter on their witness list may just be an effort by the defense to keep the prosecution off-balance.
Cate Edwards, 30, was listed as a potential witness Tuesday, but did not testify. Of the three, she is most likely to take the stand. A lawyer herself, she has sat behind her father through almost every day of testimony, leaving only when a witness described her mother Elizabeth’s emotional anguish at discovering Edwards’ illicit affair and illegitimate child.
Cate may corroborate her father’s story that the financial donations were meant as gifts to Edwards, enabling him to hide the affair from his wife, Elizabeth, who was dying of cancer. But her potential testimony will be a tightrope for her because she does not want to hurt either parent, says a reporter with sources close to the Edwards family.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio