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Former Edwards aide lands a book deal

By Carol Eisenberg

July 1, 2009 at 4:53pm

A man who was one of former Senator John Edwards’s closest aides has a deal to write a tell-all book about Edwards’ affair with Rielle Hunter that among other things repudiates his earlier claim that he is the father of Hunter’s baby.

The aide, Andrew A. Young (not to be confused with politician and diplomat Andrew J. Young), reportedly signed a contract with St. Martin’s Press for an undisclosed price to tell his story about the former presidential candidate.

In December 2007, after the National Inquirer first reported about Edwards’ affair with the then-pregnant Hunter, Young stepped forward to say he was the father, and even took the pregnant Hunter to live with him, his wife, Cheri, and young children. A publishing executive told The New York Times that Young claims Edwards promised he “would be taken care of for life” in return for falsely claiming he was the father of Hunter’s baby.

In the book proposal, portions of which were obtained by the Times, Young claims that Edwards begged him to step forward to claim paternity. “‘You know how much I love you,’” he quotes Edwards. “You know I’d walk off a cliff for you, and I know you’d walk off a cliff for me.’

At the time, Edwards was campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president. Young had worked for him for nearly a decade.

Whether Edwards failed to live up to the purported bargain, or whether something else happened to sour the relationship with Young is unclear.

Some media reports say that Young was rankled by an unflattering characterization in Elizabeth Edwards’ recent autobiography, Resilience. Elizabeth Edwards doesn’t identify him by name, but other former aides have said that the portrayal of a longtime aide she calls “Jim” is in fact Young.

Elizabeth Edwards describes “Jim” as an “obsessed fan” whose “unbridled loyalty” to her husband and “willingness to do anything John wanted” took bizarre turns.

“The existence of a Jim made it easier to accept the existence of this woman,” she wrote of Hunter, who also remains unnamed. “…My life at some level is tragic. Theirs is worse; theirs is pathetic.”

The New York Daily News‘ Rush & Molloy reported Sunday that Elizabeth Edwards holds Young partly to blame for her husband’s affair, and that he believes she arranged for the media to learn about his past brushes with the law, including a driving-while-impaired arrest in 2006 and several other charges that had been thrown out when he was in his 20s, including passing bad check and possession of marijuana.

In any case, Young is now clearly determined to exact maximum damage. Besides pointing to his former boss as the father of Hunter’s child, he also claims to have found a sex tape made by Edwards and Hunter, and alleges that Hunter confided to him that the pair talked about getting married should Elizabeth Edwards pass away, according to the Rush & Molloy column.

Federal prosecutors are still investigating whether any of Edwards’s campaign money was improperly used with regard to his affair or efforts to keep it from becoming public. Young wrote that he had been questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had been subpoenaed to speak before a grand jury.

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