Elizabeth Edwards Threatens Husband's Ex-Aide With Lawsuit
Elizabeth Edwards may sue ex-aide for alleged role in end of her marriage.
Feb. 11, 2010— -- Elizabeth Edwards may be preparing to sue her husband's longtime aide for allegedly contributing to the demise of her marriage.
In such a lawsuit, Edwards would argue an "alienation of affection," alleging that Andrew Young's role in covering up his former boss's affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter was partly responsible for the failure of the Edwardses' marriage, ABC News has learned.
Elizabeth and John Edwards are legally separated after more than 30 years of marriage. John Edwards is no longer living at their Chapel Hill, N.C., home.
Young dropped a bombshell Wednesday, telling reporters that Elizabeth Edwards threatened to sue him for what she believes was his role in the breakup of her marriage.
"I am fighting for this," Young said outside a North Carolina courthouse. "They've called me, and my family liars, and we're going to fight to the very end. ... That's not true."
North Carolina is one of seven states that allows a third party to be sued for the dissolution of a marriage. "Alienation of affection" suits are typically filed by a spurned spouse against a husband or wife's lover but could be interpreted to include additional third parties, legal experts said.
Lee Rosen, a divorce attorney with the Rosen Law Firm in Raleigh, N.C., said it's unlikely the argument will hold in court.
"I think it would be very difficult. You have to show that the defendant, in this case, Andrew Young, engaged in malicious conduct," Rosen said. "From everything that has been reported…It just sounded like he wanted to protect John's efforts to become president."
"Alienation of affection" cases typically take three to four years to come to trial, according to Rosen.
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Elizabeth Edwards approached Young's legal team last week, threatening to sue unless Young agreed to several terms, sources told ABC News' Bob Woodruff.
Among her purported demands was that Young donate $250,000 to the Wade Edwards Foundation, a nonprofit group named for the Edwardes' late son, who died in a car accident in 1996.
She also purportedly demanded that Young stop speaking publicly about the Edwardes' marriage, and that he return voice mails that she apparently left him in the course of the 2008 presidential campaign.
"Andrew, I'm tired of playing games with you," Elizabeth said in a message to Young April 11, 2007.
Young has yet to meet her demands, the sources said, and Edwards has yet to file suit.
A potential suit from Elizabeth Edwards, however, isn't the only legal challenge the Youngs face.