This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 2, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Former John Edwards aide Andrew Young was the man at the center of the affair and the political cover-up that followed — now shocking the entire country after the 2008 presidential campaign.
And tonight on "Hannity," Andrew Young tells his side of the story. But before we turn to Andrew, let's take a quick look on how all of this went down.
HANNITY (voice-over): He was the man that John Edwards trusted with his darkest secrets. Technically his finance director, Andrew Young was more like a personal assistant, a confidant. He was Edwards' go-to guy for everything from politics to petty errands to, um, personal affairs.
Young is a 43-year-old attorney and he was once so willing to defend the senator that he even agreed to publicly claim paternity of Edwards' out-of- wedlock child with mistress Rielle Hunter, all in order to protect his boss' political future.
Young says that Edwards once called him, quote, "a friend like no friend I've ever had." When news broke that Hunter was pregnant Young shocked everyone by claiming paternity of the unborn child. A revelation that was perhaps all the more shocking since a New York Times reporter claimed to have evidence that Young had undergone a vasectomy several years earlier. A fact which Young denies in the book.
So why cover for Edwards then? And why the decision to come clean now?
As Young himself admits, he reveled in the power, not to mention the monetary compensation that he was being well paid for his services with sizeable funds coming from another close friend of Edwards, his former finance chair, the late Fred Baron.
But now with Edwards' political career in the gutter Young has decided he's got nothing to lose and is divulging everything from behind-the-scenes bombshells to confidential family secrets, to the ultimate scandal of all scandals: a sex tape.
No wonder the world is watching to see what shocking new details he'll reveal next.
HANNITY: And joining me now is the author of "The Politician," an insider's account of John Edwards' pursuit of the presidency and the scandal that brought him down, Andrew Young.
Mr. Young, thank you for being here.
ANDREW YOUNG, AUTHOR, FORMER JOHN EDWARDS AIDE: Thank you.
HANNITY: There is a sex tape?
YOUNG: There is.
HANNITY: There is. And you've been offered big money for it?
YOUNG: We were.
HANNITY: And there has been a lawsuit, an injunction from allowing to you do anything with it?
YOUNG: The lawsuit was just filed last Thursday. The lawyers are still working through it. It's pretty confusing. But the grand jury — the prosecutors in the grand jury investigations subpoenaed the tape and it's my understanding that I couldn't give it over if I wanted to.
HANNITY: So you have a copy and they have a copy?
HANNITY: So you made a copy for them?
HANNITY: And you think he has any legal problems?
YOUNG: The senator?
YOUNG: You know, when you go before a grand jury they ask you a lot of questions. They don't tell you much. I would say that I — they put so much time, work and effort into this. I think I would be surprised if they don't have something.
HANNITY: If you could sell the tape for a lot of money at some point, would you?
YOUNG: I just don't think I could live with myself after that. I mean, you know, the reason I put this sex tape in the book is because I think it's an important part of — an important chapter of what happened.
This is a man that had the ability and came very close to being one — could have been a president. And within four months in the Iowa caucuses, not only does he have an affair but he videotapes a sexual encounter with a pregnant woman that is not his wife.
And then leaves the videotape sitting in a rental house that's being shown by realtors for eight months. I don't know how I leave that out of the book.
HANNITY: All right. Let's start at the beginning.
HANNITY: You really think this guy was going to be president. You start as a pretty low-level staffer.
HANNITY: You work your way into the inner circle.
HANNITY: Tell us — why did you like John Edwards so much? What was it about him?
YOUNG: Well, when I — my father is a minister and I've grown up around a lot of very charismatic powerful speakers. And my wife and I were at the beach one time, and he had just won the Democratic primary. We went to see him. And I was just — I fell in love right away.
I mean, the guy had an ability, whether you like him or dislike him — he had an ability, when he was on, to really take the audience into his vision of —
HANNITY: No, no, I agree. I mean — so you were mesmerized by that?
YOUNG: Yes. Absolutely.
HANNITY: You were caught up in it. A true believer?
HANNITY: You saw early signs of his character. You described — he'd go to fairs, he didn't want to, quote, "hang out with those rednecks?" His words.
YOUNG: The fairs didn't start until he started to run for president which is a couple of years on — he never went to fairs within the state. He only went to fairs —
HANNITY: But he hated being around — you used the term rednecks. He didn't want to be seen with them. There was early signs that Mr. Two Americas really was an elitist phony?
YOUNG: There were signs, yes.
HANNITY: And you ignored them, why?
YOUNG: Working around the Hill and working around politicians in general, it wasn't an abnormal trait to have.
HANNITY: Well, I mean, but now in retrospect, you should...
YOUNG: Yes. In retrospect — I mean what we did was wrong. There's no two ways about it.
HANNITY: Yes. All right. The big part of this book is you made a decision to tell the whole story about an affair. I think it was — and I read the whole book and it was — I couldn't put the book down, I'll be honest.
YOUNG: Thank you.
HANNITY: Because it is almost — you can't even make this stuff up.
YOUNG: Right. Right.
HANNITY: Here's a guy that has a chance to be the president.
HANNITY: And is as reckless as he is. Tell us how this all got started when you first became aware of Rielle Hunter?
YOUNG: It became slowly at first because the senator and I would be riding somewhere and Elizabeth was tracking his cell phone use because she was suspicious. She had known about previous affairs. She tracked his cell phone use.
And so he started using my cell phone to make and receive calls from Rielle. And Rielle would — when he was about to land and he was always running late, would call me repeatedly. So over a month or two it just became obvious, you know.
HANNITY: To you.
YOUNG: He was sitting a foot apart from me in the car and I could overhear the conversations. So I knew, I didn't say anything.
HANNITY: Right. So you knew, wasn't that a disappointment at that moment?
HANNITY: That here's a guy that you would put your faith in, you believed in. He's having this affair.
HANNITY: But it got worse than that. You became the facilitator after the affair.
YOUNG: I did.
HANNITY: You would help arrange these three-way calls.
YOUNG: I did.
HANNITY: And you would — you would drop this — the bat phone as you called it, you know, on the airplane so he could sneak behind his wife.
YOUNG: I did.
HANNITY: And you facilitated these rendezvous.
YOUNG: I did.
HANNITY: Why would you do that?
YOUNG: Well, first and foremost, there's no logical or rational reason for why I did it. John Edwards and I had gotten to be very close friends. We jogged together. We went to basketball games together. Our families vacationed together. Our kids played together.
But on top of that, it was also a career. I had put at this point six or seven years into this. And at this point he was a viable, potential president. And I was really torn between the incredible things that he could do and some of the powerful things that we did do with health care, with education, with a lot of the college programs.
I was torn between the incredible things that he could accomplish and the appalling behavior that I saw.
HANNITY: Was it that you were blinded by your own ambition or desire for power? At any point in this process, knowing he's recklessly having an affair, knowing that you're facilitating the cheating against his wife.
HANNITY: Did you ever stand back? Did you ever have a moment where your conscience bothered you and said, I cannot continue what I'm doing here?
YOUNG: There were tons of moments like that, but I mean, you're saying was there this or this or this? There was all of the above. There was the love for him, there was the love for his family.
And once Elizabeth got sick, there was the love for her as well. And — you know, there was something — Elizabeth had become like a big sister to me and to my family.
HANNITY: But there was evidence, apparently everybody knew. There's this story in "Game Change" where apparently she's in an FBO or in a car.
YOUNG: In an airport. Yes.
HANNITY: In an airport and rips off her blouse screaming, "Look at me"?
HANNITY: Is that true?
HANNITY: What was the rest of their relationship like?
YOUNG: They — you know, it was very much like a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with both of them. They both could turn and look at you one second and be as sweet and as charming.
You know I've seen her on Wolf Blitzer — just a couple weeks ago I was sitting there folding laundry and listening to her on PBS. And halfway through it, I looked up I was like wow, this is the woman — this is an incredible woman.
And I was like, whoa, wait a minute.
HANNITY: And she knew even before he decided to run for president that he had all these affairs and that this affair was going on?
YOUNG: Definitely, yes.
HANNITY: She knew — and so she — and you say she wanted the White House as much or more than him?
YOUNG: Very much so.
YOUNG: This was — their son in the passed, this was his dream.
HANNITY: All right. When we come back the big part of the story is you accepted paternity for his child.
HANNITY: And so we'll ask you how — what happened with that and why you would do that. We'll have more with Andrew Young, coming up on other side of the break.
HANNITY: And we continue now with the author of "The Politician," former John Edwards aide, Andrew Young.
All right, so, eventually everyone around the candidate, John Edwards, knows this is going on. He's.
YOUNG: I wouldn't say everyone.
HANNITY: A lot of people.
YOUNG: But the people in the inner circle, yes.
HANNITY: They all knew. All right, and so one by one he's sort of pushing them out, getting rid of them. He pulls it off.
YOUNG: Everybody says to me, you know, how did you think that you could pull this off? The crazy thing about this is, Rielle moved into our house in September. Until he walked into the Beverly Hilton in July, July 22nd, the mainstream media didn't cover it, didn't pick it up. And at that point in July he was the leading contender for VP or attorney general in almost all of the polls that you look at in terms of helping Obama.
HANNITY: Yes. All right. So, it got to this point where you've been covering for him, you've been facilitating this. You stay with him. And then he comes to you and describe the moment when he comes up with this scheme that you're going to be the father of his child. You're going to be the one having the affair with Rielle Hunter.
YOUNG: I'm glad my wife is not in here.
HANNITY: I just met your wife, by the way.
Yes, I bet you are.
YOUNG: We're — if you can make a humorous story in this. We're at the Pet Smart, buying a turtle aquarium for our kids. And he calls me and he had five or six numbers that he would use to call me. And I walk outside, and I'm sitting on the curb, and he makes his usual pitch, you know, how are the kids? You know, acting concerned.
And then — then he starts to talk about the National Enquirer had been at my house the night before, peeking in the window, and the sheriff had come and all this kind of stuff. And having worked for him as long as I usually could kind of predict where he was going to go.
And so I walk out and I sit in the minivan and there was a news article in the Newsweek that had just come out and it said "The Dark Horse" — had him on the cover. And the article on the inside was, "I'm going to tell the truth." And it outlined how after what had happened with Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 it outlined how Iowa and New Hampshire, they were not going to risk a historic election on Barack or Hillary.
They were going to go for somebody who's tremendously popular like Edwards. And they outlined how he could win. So, Edwards used that and then he segued into the — you know, good versus evil, you know, let's get rid of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, getting the boys out of Iraq, on and on.
And he'd made the argument that he was the only viable Democrat that could win. And he closed with one that was just the clincher. And you have to understand John Edwards is not your average Joe. This is one of the most persuasive trial lawyers and politicians around.
I mean, this guy can sell ice to Eskimos. To some people. Maybe not to you.
YOUNG: But to a lot of people.
HANNITY: All right.
YOUNG: When he's on. When he's on. And he's very persuasive — you have to admit, at the minimum, he's very persuasive.
HANNITY: I was never that impressed. But I'm listening to your story.
YOUNG: OK. OK. OK. And at the end of it he threw in the closer. Elizabeth is dying of cancer. She's going to die in very short order. And we need to give the press what they want.
And if we give them a story of two staffers having an affair, they don't care about you, Andrew, they care about me. And this will go away if we just give them that story. And as soon as Elizabeth dies, you'll come back to being my right-hand man and everything will be fine.
Now in that initial request — and people are confused about this — I didn't ask for anything in return.
HANNITY: But he says to you, they released the statement you claim paternity. You have to go to your wife and tell her, by the way, I'm doing this for my friend, John? I'm going to — he an affair and I'm going to claim that I'm the father.
YOUNG: It's even more bizarre than that.
HANNITY: Let me tell you something, Mrs. Hannity would not go for that. All right?
HANNITY: That would not fly in the Hannity household.
YOUNG: It's even more bizarre than that. We were in the McDonald's drive- thru going to the first pay-window on the second — when I finally figured out I had to say something. And it was between those two windows that I told her that. So.
HANNITY: And — all right. So, then you accepted this deal? And the press release went out.
YOUNG: Not then. Not then. We went home and 12 hours later, Rielle, the senator, and I and Sherry were on speaker phone and discussed it.
HANNITY: All right. What was Rielle Hunter like? You described her as a pretty — you always thought she was threatening to expose this.
HANNITY: You really didn't expose — describe her as somebody that was, let's say, stable?
YOUNG: She was the polar opposite of Elizabeth. I mean she was a new age spiritualist. She truly believed that the baby was the reincarnation of the Buddhist monk that had died just before the baby was born. And the baby was a combination of the Senator's charisma and intellect and her new age spiritualism. And it was sent here not just to save the United States, but the universe.
HANNITY: Is it is true that Bill Clinton called John Edwards and said, how did you get caught?
YOUNG: It was better than that, from what he told me. He told me that Senator Clinton called Mrs. Edwards and expressed regret and love, Barack Obama same thing. Bill Clinton called both of them. But when he got on phone with Edwards he said — he said, well, two things. "Man, if I hired Andrew Young I'd still be in office."
YOUNG: And secondly, what you just said. So.
HANNITY: Well, I mean, anything you — what is the big lesson you learned in this? What is the lesson? Did you get sucked into a cult where you're just blinded by our own ambition? Was it a combination? How did you allow yourself to sort of put these blinders on and compromise your values this way?
YOUNG: I mean, the first part of the book explains that. You know? When I was very young I went through a bankruptcy, went through some tough times. And when I had three kids and a wife to support, I was desperate to hold on to my job.
But the thing that I learned coming out of this is I already had everything I needed. My wife and my kids are the ones that have stuck by me and got me through this.
HANNITY: All right. Andrew, appreciate it, fascinating read. Thank you for being with us.
YOUNG: Thank you.
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