John Edwards Aide Goes to Court Amid Probe Into Campaign Spending

July 2, 2009 - 5:51 AM
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Former John Edwards aide Andrew Young, center, and his attorney David Geneson, right, walk outside a federal courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., where a grand jury was meeting on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Raleigh, N.C. (AP) - A longtime loyalist and aide to two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards spent the day in a federal courthouse Wednesday amid an investigation into how his former boss spent campaign funds.
 
With his lawyer at his side, Andrew Young walked into the building in Raleigh shortly before 8:30 a.m., simply smiling at a reporter and declining to talk. He did not leave through a public entrance, and his attorney, David Geneson, didn't return repeated calls from AP.
 
A few months before the crucial 2008 caucuses in Iowa, where Edwards placed second to eventual President Barack Obama, Young publicly declared that he was the father of Rielle Hunter's baby.
 
Edwards has admitted to an affair with Hunter that he says ended in 2006. That year, Edwards' political action committee paid Hunter's video production firm $100,000 for work. Then the committee paid another $14,086 on April 1, 2007.
 
Edwards, a North Carolina senator from 1998 until his vice presidential bid in 2004, acknowledged earlier this year that federal investigators are looking into how he used campaign funds. Grand jury proceedings are secret, and the U.S. attorney's office in Raleigh has declined to confirm or deny an investigation.
 
Young hasn't spoken publicly since saying he was the father in 2007 and has repeatedly ignored reporter requests for interviews.
 
John Murphy, a spokesman with St. Martin's Press, said Young signed a book deal with the publisher last week. He declined to discuss the details of the agreement or the book.
 
"We don't even have a writer yet. The book is way off in the future," Murphy said. "We've signed a very strict confidentiality (agreement)."
 
Edwards adamantly denied during his confessional interview with ABC News last summer that he had fathered Hunter's child, and he welcomed a paternity test. But his wife, Elizabeth, has said while promoting her book that she doesn't know if her husband is the father.
 
Young got his last campaign paycheck in the middle of November, a month before he and Hunter publicly declared through attorneys that he was the father. Fred Baron, who was Edwards' national finance chairman and a wealthy Dallas-based trial attorney, said last year he quietly sent money to Hunter and to Young's family to resettle in California.
 
Baron, who died following complications from cancer just a few months after Edwards acknowledged the affair, said he provided the money on his own, to "help two friends and former colleagues rebuild their lives when harassment by supermarket tabloids made it impossible for them to move forward on their own."
 
At the time of the April 2007 payment, the PAC only had $7,932 cash on hand, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission. What made the distribution possible was that on the same day, according to the records, Edwards' presidential campaign paid the PAC $14,034 for a "furniture purchase."
 
That money was one of just five contributions to the political action committee for the entire three months from April 1 to June 30, 2007. The other four were on June 30, the last day of the reporting period, including a $3,000 contribution from Baron's wife, Lisa.