Edwards' accuser: Donor cash went to my dream home

(CBS News) GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Lawyers for former presidential candidate John Edwards get another chance Friday to grill his main accuser, former top campaign aide Andrew Young.

On Thursday, Young admitted taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from Edwards donors.

Defense attorneys are trying to paint Young, a former friend as well as colleague of Edwards, as a vindictive liar who started making up stories when his meal ticket ran out.

Initially, their attention to detail and methodical and painstaking questioning left some jurors looking bored and distracted, but not for long -- what started with a whimper ended with a roar.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell honed in on Young's inconsistencies -- so much so that judge Catherine Eagles at one point said, "We're about to beat a dead horse."

She warned Lowell that his cross-examination would be cut short if he didn't focus on the crux of the case -- the nearly $1 million from wealthy donors used to hide Edwards' mistress and love child.

"You're going to get to the money, right?" Eagles asked.

Lowell did -- under relentless questioning -- Lowell got Young to admit that much of the money that came from wealthy philanthropist Rachel Bunny Mellon arrived after Young requested it, not Edwards, and that the money didn't go to the Edwards campaign, but into construction of Young's own house.

In speaking of additions such as a pool and a home theater, Young confessed, "We lost our sense of perspective and the house got more and more extravagant."

Lowell drove the point home, asking Young, "Did any money go to Mr. Edwards or his family?"

"No," Young replied.

But most damaging to Young's credibility was when he conceded that he got the late Fred Baron to reimburse him for expenses Mellon had already paid.

"He looked terrible. He looked defeated," said Kieran Shanahan, a former federal prosecutor. "And I think it's because the truth was becoming apparent that this case had a lot to do with the money that went into his pocket and benefited him, and not necessarily the campaign."

To see Erin Moriarty's report, and some of her analysis of the trial to date, click on the video in the player above.

  • Erin Moriarty

    Correspondent, "48 Hours"

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