Ex-aide's wife: Edwards knew about money

Andrew Young, former aide to former Sen. John Edwards, and his wife, Cheri, on March 12, 2010. File,AP Photo/Sara D. Davis

Updated: 12:54 p.m. ET

(AP) GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The wife of an ex-aide to John Edwards testified Monday the former presidential candidate told her over the phone that it was legal to take money from a wealthy donor to take care of Edwards' mistress.

Testifying at Edwards' campaign corruption trial, Cheri Young said she had doubts about taking the money and depositing it into an account controlled by her and her husband, Andrew Young, but she did it anyway to help out the campaign. She said she insisted on speaking to Edwards about the money.

"I heard Mr. John Edwards tell me on the phone that he checked with the campaign lawyers and that this was legal," said Cheri Young, who was on the witness stand for a second day of questioning by prosecutors.

Edwards is accused of deliberately using the money to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. Edwards denies the charges, and his attorneys have said the Youngs spent the money on their dream house.

Cheri Young said she took the money despite her reservations because if the public found out about Edwards' affair with Reille Hunter, the campaign and her husband's job were in danger.

"I cannot tell you how disgusted I was. Why me? This was my husband's fight. ... Now I had to fix it," she said.

The payments came from a wealthy Texas lawyer, Fred Baron, who served as Edwards' campaign finance chairman and an elderly heiress, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. Andrew Young, who testified last week under an immunity agreement, has acknowledged that he used for himself about $1 million of $1.2 million in payments from the two donors.

Edwards, a one-term U.S. senator from North Carolina, has pleaded not guilty to six counts related to campaign finance violations. He faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted on all counts.

Comments