Power Play

Edwards lawyers try to strike salacious testimony from record

Former aide's wife is a key witness


John Edwards' defense team is trying to strike from the record the salacious testimony of his former aide's wife, arguing that much of what she said was hearsay and not admissible. 

The lawyers filed the motion Wednesday to strike much of witness Cheri Young's testimony, though the judge has not yet ruled on it. 

The move comes after Cheri Young -- the wife of former Edwards confidante Andrew Young -- spent two days on the stand detailing at length how the famous politician persuaded Andrew to claim paternity of Edwards' love child with mistress Rielle Hunter. She also told a string of bizarre anecdotes about Hunter's eccentric behavior while the Young family was helping hide her in their North Carolina home. 

Earlier this week, Cheri Young claimed Hunter would not let the Young family so much as touch her baby. 

"We were not allowed to touch the baby. My kids were not allowed anywhere they might breathe on the baby," she said. 

More On This...

Under cross-examination, Young clarified Tuesday that she believes her children "held the baby once." 

Young described Hunter as demanding and high-maintenance. She testified that Young gave Hunter a list of utility companies to call when she moved out of the Youngs' house to a home nearby. She said Hunter handed the list back to her and said: "Set it up." 

Young described, too, how she and Andrew wrote several checks, including one for $8,000, to help Hunter pay for her spiritual adviser's services. Hunter, she said, even called in the adviser for help when she complained, at a Colorado diner, that her Reuben sandwich had the wrong sauce. 

Amid the ups and downs of dealing with Hunter, Young described how the family's efforts to conceal Edwards' affair transformed their lives. 

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

Young described how her husband, after initially claiming paternity of the child, had trouble finding work because of intense coverage in the tabloid media. 

During cross-examination, defense lawyer Alan Duncan asked Cheri 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 Young's testimony, especially regarding Edwards' alleged statements, was based on secondhand stories from her husband. 

Young said 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. 

Young's testimony was cut short Monday after she complained of a migraine. On Tuesday, 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 Young, "Have you had problems with your memory over the last five years?" 

"Not that I know of," she responded, which drew a few snickers from the gallery.
When asked if her husband had memory problems, Young replied forcefully, "Sir, I'm not going to testify for my husband." 

Duncan also questioned 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. 

Young replied, "I can assure you I did not write one line of the book. I can assure you I can't write." 

Fox News' Jonathan Serrie contributed to this report.