Rough notes from Senator John Edwards trial

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(notes below are from a colleague)

For a second day, the wife of a former campaign aide testified how efforts to conceal candidate John Edwards’ affair affected her family’s lives.


“There was no returning to normal life at this point,” said Cheri Young. “Our name was not cleared.”


Young described how her husband Andrew, who initially claimed paternity of Edwards’ love child, had trouble finding work because of intense coverage in the tabloid media.


During cross-examination, defense lawyer Alan Duncan asked Mrs. Young, “Did Andrew Young’s work and devotion to John Edwards, in your view, cause turmoil in your marriage from your standpoint?”


“It did, sir, but that was our agreement,” Young replied, explaining that supporting her husband’s job was part of her commitment to the marriage. “I made it okay.”


Duncan asked Young whether the tension in her family caused her anger towards Edwards.


“Mr. Edwards wasn’t a source of anger to me, sir,” she said. “There were things that I absolutely had a problem with… There were specific things he did that bothered me, but it was more the time away from family.”


Tensions flared when Duncan asked, “If you can get John Edwards, that’s what you want to do, isn’t it?”


Young replied, “Excuse me?”


Duncan repeated the question.


“Sir, that is a completely false statement,” Young replied. “I’m here to tell the truth about my experiences, about my life.”


During cross-examination, Duncan tried to establish that much of Mrs. Young’s testimony, especially regarding Edwards’ alleged statements, was based on secondhand stories from her husband. Mrs. Young acknowledged she had been on two phone calls, in which she heard Edwards speaking directly, and a third phone call where she heard the candidate crying.


The defense reviewed Mrs. Young’s testimony from Monday, in which she described Edwards’ mistress as high maintenance and demanding, especially after her child was born.


During Monday’s testimony, Mrs. Young had said, “We were not allowed to touch the baby. My kids were not allowed anywhere they might breathe on the baby.”


But during today’s cross examination, Mrs. Young appeared to backtrack slightly on her statement about her children, saying, “I believe they held the baby once.”


Mrs. Young’s testimony was cut short yesterday after she complained of a migraine. Today, Duncan questioned her about her history with the condition and asked if migraines affected her memory. Young explained that her memory was affected only while the migraine episodes are occurring.


Duncan asked Mrs. Young, “Have you had problems with your memory over the last five years?”


“Not that I know of,” Mrs. Young responded, which drew a few snickers from the gallery.


When asked if her husband had memory problems, Mrs. Young replied forcefully, “Sir, I’m not going to testify for my husband.”


Duncan also questioned Mrs. Young’s previous statements that she had not co-authored her husband’s tell-all book, “The Politician.”


“Well, isn’t your name on the royalty checks for the book?” Duncan asked.


Mrs. Young replied, “I can assure you I did not write one line of the book. I can assure you I can’t write.”