John Edwards' Daughter Cate Is His Most Visible Supporter

PHOTO: Former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. John Edwards, center, arrives outside federal court with his daughter Cate, left, in Greensboro, N.C.
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John Edwards' most visible supporter at his trial is his daughter Cate, despite the fact that the trial revolves around the fact that Edwards cheated on her mother as she was dying of cancer.

Also present most days are Edwards' elderly parents, so frail they carry cushions into court to help endure the hard benches. Edwards put his hand on his father's back to steady him this week as the man tried to climb the courthouse steps.

But enduring the testimony must be even more difficult for the Edwards family.

Today a sex tape made by Edwards and his former lover Rielle Hunter was the focus of early court action. The court rejected a bid by Hunter to keep details of the tape out of the case. Judge Catherine Eagles called the request "extremely broad."

Cate was 25 in 2007-08 when her father's second run for the presidency collapsed and he got his mistress Rielle Hunter pregnant.

The emotional high point of the campaign was the announcement by her mother, Elizabeth Edwards, that she had terminal cancer, but said she wanted her husband to continue working for his presidential ambitions. Elizabeth Edwards died Dec. 7, 2010.

Cate Edwards, now 30 and a lawyer, escorts her father into court each day and sits directly behind him, a front-row seat as she listens to prosecutors and key witness Andrew Young describe the elaborate lengths her father took to hide his continuing affair from his wife.

She is also aware that if her father is convicted and does go to prison, she will become the prime caregiver to her younger brother and sister Emma, 14, and Jack, 12. He faces a possible prison term of 30 years.

But the father and daughter seem to have formed a team. She has been in court every day with her father, even through jury selection, and he has turned to consult with her several times during the trial. On Thursday she passed a note to the defense table just before the day began.

When his defense lawyer began ripping into Young during cross examination, both Edwards and his daughter left court looking pleased.

"The sun's out, in more ways than one," Edwards exulted as he left court, speaking to his daughter, who laughed at the crack.

Cate Edwards will also be a witness in the trial on her father's behalf and is expected to shed some light about what Elizabeth Edwards knew and when. Most witnesses are not allowed to attend court and listen to the proceedings, but Judge Catherine Eagles made an exception for Cate Edwards because she is her father's closest family member.

The trial resumes today with Young back on the stand. He will be followed by his wife, Cheri Young, who helped keep the pregnant Hunter a secret from the public and Elizabeth Edwards.

John Edwards is charged with illegally using more than $900,000 in campaign donations to hide Hunter.

His defense, however, says the money was used to hide the affair from his wife and was not related to his presidential campaign. They have also depicted Young as a greedy liar who used the scandal for his own financial profit.

Young testified earlier this week that he was told that hiding Hunter was the "most important" job in the campaign, even after Edwards dropped out because he was hoping to become vice president or attorney general.

Edwards' defense team got Young to admit that he used a "substantial part" of the money donated to Edwards on himself, including to expand his house with a swimming pool, home theater and a guest room.

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