GREENSBORO, N.C., April 27, 2012— -- The first witness in the John Edwards trial ended nearly a week of testimony by breaking down on the stand and by telling the court today that the last time he spoke to Edwards he feared he was going to be shot.
Andrew Young has spent nearly four contentious days on the stand detailing how he helped Edwards hide his mistress Rielle Hunter in 2007 and 2008 while Edwards pursued the Democratic presidential nomination.
The cross examination has been grueling with Edwards' defense team depicting him as a greedy liar.
Young today described the last conversation he had with Edwards during a car ride on Aug. 18, 2008 in a wooded area.
By this time their friendship had been severely strained by the extraordinary efforts to keep the secret of Hunter's pregnancy.
During their conversation Young told Edwards, "If he wasn't going to tell the truth about what transpired, then I was going to tell the truth."
Young told Edwards that he had saved voicemails, text messages, emails, photographs as well as a sex video of Edwards and Hunter.
Young said that Edwards was sweaty and "at one point I was scared for my life."
"Did you think John Edwards was going to shoot you?" Lowell asked.
"Not personally," Young answered.
"You thought there was a gunman in the woods who was going to come and shoot you?" the lawyer asked.
"That thought did cross my mind," he answered.
"Were you afraid there was a gun or a tape recorder?" Lowell asked.
"Both occurred to me," Young replied.
Later, under the gentler questioning of prosecutor David Harbach Young got emotional when asked why he felt that it was okay that he used money donated to help hide Hunter for vacation trips for his children to Disneyland, Legoland and skiing in Aspen.
"For all the stress... put on my family. My wife, who is an amazing person," Young said as he lost his composure and began weeping. "Sorry, (she) managed to keep my kids very balanced."
Young was on the verge of tears again while describing how his relationship to Edwards changed from devotion to saving evidence against him.
"For several years working for Mr. and Mrs. Edwards was a true privilege. It was inspiring and exciting. ?. And that I was going to be part of something good," he said.
Young's voice broke and he became emotional as he continued, saying, "The things that happened since then were in direct contradiction to the man I knew back then and it's very hard for me to put those two men together."
Earlier today, Judge Catherine Eagles rejected a bid by Hunter's legal team to sharply restrict what the court and the public can hear about the sex tape she and Edwards made together.
Eagles said a decision could be reached later on testimony surrounding the tape The judge had earlier ruled that the video itself is inadmissible and will not be introduced during the trial.
Hunter, who was a videographer on Edwards' failed bid for the presidency in 2007, is expected to testify later in the trial.
Edwards is on trial for allegedly illegally using more than $900,000 in campaign donations to hide Hunter and her pregnancy. If convicted of the charge Edwards could be sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison.
His defense, however, says the money was used to hide the affair from Edwards' wife and was not related to his presidential campaign.
The defense has also depicted Young as a greedy liar who used the scandal for his own financial profit.
In today's testimony, Young conceded that he included as affair-related expenses trips with his family to Disneyland, Legoland, skiing in Aspen, and a trip to Mexico.
He also admitted spending $200,000 of the money to put in a pool at his home and wire it for audio.
In addition, Lowell got Young to estimate that he was paid a couple hundred thousand dollars for a book about Edwards and Hunter and that he sold the rights for a movie for another couple hundred thousand dollars.
Lowell cited a passage in Young's book in which Young said that if people didn't know the whole story he feared they would think he was a "cold blooded schemer who is motivated by greed or ego or the desire for power."
"Isn't that exactly what you are," Lowell asked Young.
"No," he answered.