When presidential contender John Edwards decided he had to hide his mistress and her pregnancy from his wife -- and from the voters -- he concocted an elaborate scheme to keep the scandal a secret, according to the once-loyal aide who helped smuggle the woman through a series of luxurious hideaways. Wealthy benefactors were called on and their sizable contributions funded the lavish life on the lam.
"I know of at least a million dollars. And there was much, much more," said Andrew Young of the scheme that brought him to testify in front of a grand jury. "We were living in mansions, flying around in jets. ... Money was no object."
The Iowa caucuses were just two weeks away in December 2007, when Young falsely claimed he was the father of his boss's love child.
"We knew we were going to have to leave town as soon as this hit the Enquirer," Young recalled of the bombshell that broke in the supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer.
Young and his wife, Cheri, said they had less than 12 hours to make the decision to go on the lam with his boss's mistress -- Rielle Hunter -- but ultimately agreed to go into hiding with her. According to Young, Edwards' campaign finance chairman, Fred Baron, who's now deceased, made it possible for them to effectively disappear.
"Fred said to me, 'Andrew, I got more money than I can ever spend. You spend whatever it takes to take care of the situation. And let us focus on making him president, vice president or attorney general," Young recalled.
Young gives his account of life on the run with the pregnant mistress of a presidential contender in a new tell-all book titled "The Politician," which will be released Jan. 30.
According to Young, they left in the middle of the night in December 2007 on private jet provided by Baron and flew to the Westin Hotel in Hollywood, Fla., to take cover from the media firestorm.
In a statement to ABC News on the "20/20" interview, Edwards' attorneys said that according to media reports "there are many allegations which are simply false" and that Young appeared to be "motivated by financial gain and media attention."
CLICK HERE to see exclusive photos of Rielle Hunter and the Youngs on the run
At that point, the Youngs said they had no idea where they were going or how long they'd be gone, but sent their three kids -- Brody, 8, Gracie, 7 and Cooper, 5 -- to stay with their grandparents.
"We couldn't tell our families where we were going," Young said. "We said ...'You're going to see our names in the newspapers. We love you. Everything is fine. Trust us. But we can't tell you where we are.'"
Cheri Young said she was shocked and displeased, but said she felt as if the couple was taking a hit for the greater cause.
"Ultimately, we felt like ... his chance to be president of the United States laid in our hands because he could continue if we said yes. And we did," she said.
Young told ABC News that Edwards knew where they were going and how it was being financed.
"He might not have known the exact figures, he might not have known where exactly we were living. But he knew about the money, he knew about the methodology and he knew about the sources," Young claims. "He would -- arrange things, but then ... he would say, 'You know, I can't know about this in case, you know, I'm going to be sworn in for attorney general.'"
Baron had claims before he died that it was his idea, not Edwards', to get Hunter out of town.