John Edwards' chief accuser faces grilling

(CBS NEWS) GREENBORO, N.C. -- A battle is unfolding in a Greensboro, N.C. courtroom at the trial of former presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards.

Defense attorneys are turning up the heat on his chief accuser, former campaign staffer Andrew Young, who was to return to the stand Thursday.

It was to be his fourth day on the stand, with Edwards' lawyers' continuing to question him.

Defense attorney Abbe Lowell zeroed in on Young, accusing him of lying and exaggerating.

Lowell painted a picture of a man who used to think the world of Edwards, then turned sour.

"You really hate him, don't you?" Lowell asked.

"I have mixed feelings," Young replied.

Earlier, the prosecution had tried to plug potential holes in the testimony of their star witness, focusing on blatant inconsistencies.

"48 Hours Mystery" correspondent Erin Moriarty and CBS News legal analyst Jack Ford discussed a central question concerning Young's credibility that's come up so far about his testimony: Is what he's said on the stand at odds with what he wrote in a recent book? To see the interview with "CBS This Morning" co-hosts Charlie Rose and Erica Hill, click on the video below:

Chief among them: Why had Young written in his tell-all book, "The Politician," that the donations "were gifts, entirely proper, and not subject to campaign finance laws."

Young answered that, at the time, he wrote that the donations were legal for a simple reason: "I was scared to death," said Young. "I did this to cover my butt."

The prosecution's case hinges on whether the money -- nearly $1 million in donations from wealthy donors -- was used to simply hide a mistress or to help keep Edwards' campaign afloat.

Analyst Jan Baran says Young "has testified very much to the detriment of the Edwards defense in the sense that he's said there were a lot of conversations with people about this cover-up and how it was campaign-related."

But as Edwards' attorneys dig in with their attack on Young's credibility, Edwards himself seemed upbeat as he left the courthouse Wednesday afternoon with his daughter, remarking to her that the sun was out in more ways than one.

To see Anna Werner's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Anna Werner

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