After learning of the alleged sex tape featuring John Edwards and his mistress, Rielle Hunter, during the 2008 presidential campaign, a former friend of Edwards and ex-aide Andrew Young said he tried to warn the Obama campaign not to consider Edwards for a spot in the administration.
Tim Toben, a North Carolina businessman, testified at Edwards' federal conspiracy trial on Tuesday, telling the court that shortly after Edwards ended his presidential bid, he arranged a meeting with Steven Lerner, the director of the Obama campaign in North Carolina, to warn them not to offer Edwards a job.
Edwards, Toben said, had bragged to him about being offered a role in a potential Obama administration.
"I was alarmed," Toben said, according to Politico. "I couldn't believe what I had heard. I couldn't believe a man with a four-month-old baby by another woman was seriously considering running for vice president."
Toben said he warned Lerner not to dismiss the National Enquirer--which broke the story about Edwards' love child with Hunter. (Edwards and Hunter denied it at the time.)
"Usually they get those wrong, but in this case I don't think they did," Toben said he told Lerner. "I would encourage you guys to look very hard at this in the vetting process."
Toben admitted that he and Young joked about selling the sex tape after the story about the candidate's affair broke.
"I wonder what that tape is worth today," Toben asked Young in an email, shown in court. Young, the prosecution's star witness, told him about the existence of the tape, Toben said.
During cross-examination, lawyers for Edwards tried to portray Toben and Young as bitter.
"I can't wait for you to OUT him," Toben wrote in another e-mail to Young. "He's an ass and always will be."
Hunter, Edwards' former campaign videographer and mother of his now 4-year-old child, has yet to appear at the trial. She lives in Charlotte with Frances Quinn, her daughter with Edwards. It's not clear whether she will testify.
Edwards faces six criminal counts—including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of making false statements—for allegedly soliciting and secretly spending over $925,000 to cover up his affair with Hunter. If convicted on all six counts, Edwards faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
Prosecutors are expected to finish presenting their case on Thursday.
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