John Edwards Trial: Tim Toben and Andrew Young

Former Edwards campaign supporter and contributor Tim Toben was back on the stand today in the John Edwards trial. Most of the media reports I've seen don't mention the close friendship between Toben and Andrew Young.

From the acknowledgement section (page xii)of Andrew Young's book, The Politician:

To Tim Toben, I love you brother. And I love Megan and your family like my own.

Young described Toben as "the one Chapel Hill friend who still spoke to me." (p. 261.) [More...]

In 2005, Young purchased the 10 acre lot for his home from Toben. It was adjacent to Toben's house.

On December 29, about to begin their cross-country odyssey, Young drove to Toben's house to hide his car and Toben drove the Youngs and Rielle to the airport. The Enquirer had published the story that Edwards was the father of Hunter's unborn baby on December 19, 2007, and Young issued his statement claiming paternity the same day.

ABC News reports today that Toben was chosen to to ferry the trio out of N.C. because of his closeness to Edwards.

Toben, who was once so close to Edwards he was asked to sneak a pregnant Hunter out of North Carolina in the dead of night, said after Edwards quit the race he went to the Obama campaign to warn them of offering Edwards a job in the administration.

Andrew Young wrote in his book he drove to Toben's house that night to ask for his help hiding his car and getting to the aiport to get out of North Carolina. He said Toben didn't ask a single question. (page 241.) Young never says it was Edwards' idea to call Toben. Toben says Edwards called him afterwards to thank him.

Toben testified in Court today that at one time he had sent Andrew Young an e-mail asking how much he thought the sex tape was worth.

Toben said he had jokingly talked to Young about how much the tape might be worth. The defense lawyers produced a 2009 email from Toben to Young that said: "Wonder what that tape is worth today?"

Let's back up. In Februrary, 2010, Rielle Hunter stated in her Second Affidavit filed in the state civil lawsuit she brought against Andrew and Cheri Young that she stayed at the Youngs' home in the Governor's Club community for a few weeks in September, 2007.

In October, 2007, she moved to a separate rented home in the same community. She left no possessions at the Youngs' home. After moving into this separate house, she had her possessions, including the hatbox which contained the sex tape and other personal items, shipped to her from her old residence in New Jersey. These items were never at Andrew Young's home. Hunter said in her first affidavit filed in January, 2010, that she mangled and cut the sex tape to prevent anyone from watching it in December, 2006. She said the tape was filmed in September, 2006.

According to her second affidavit, when she prepared to leave North Carolina in December, 2007, thinking she would only be gone a few weeks, she packed one suitcase and left the rest of items, including the hat box with the sex and other tapes inside in the home. She had cut and mangled the tape so no one could watch it.

A few weeks after arriving in California, Hunter called Toben and asked him to retrieve some items from her home. There was a hidden key so he could get in, and she guided him over the phone to the items she wanted.

Hunter says in her affidavit that she never asked anyone else to retrieve items from her home until September, 2008, about a month before her lease at the Governor's club was up, when she asked a trusted friend to pack up her things. The hatbox was there, but the videotapes, including the sex tape, were not.

Young and his wife maintained they found the sex tape in the trash at their home when moving things into storage in July, 2008. Young said in his book Hunter had abandoned the tape and other items. He says he and his wife repaired the tape marked "special" and watched it. (Cheri thought it might be "the missing webisodes" from the campaign that Elizabeth Edwards had been looking for. Book, p. 280.)

In a court pleading filed Feburary 4, 2010, the Youngs maintained the tapes had been left and discarded in their home when Hunter moved into her own residence in October, 2007. They said they were not inside the hatbox and the hatbox was not in their home. They said in August, 2008, Hunter asked them to get her passport (and only her passport) from the hatbox in her home. Since the Youngs were out of town at the time, they said they asked a friend to retrieve the passport. They didn't identify the friend or say how the friend got into the house -- presumably it was with the "hidden key." Hunter says in her first affidavit the Youngs had both a passcode and a key to her Governor's Club home (they had rented it for her.)

On Feburary 5, 2010, Andrew Young testified at a contempt hearing, after which he and Cheri Young were found to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with court orders regarding the sex tape.

Young had shown the sex tape to ABC News and others. In affidavits, he listed those people. But at a later contempt hearing in March, 2010, when he and his wife were faced with going to jail for 75 days, he was forced to admit he had shown the sex tape to a journalist named Robert Draper at his home in Chapel Hill in March, 2009. (He told the court he had been too drunk to remember before. He got out of the jail sentence.)

There's no indication Young showed the tape to Toben, but they discussed it. And none of this proves the charged crime -- that John Edwards believed or knew the money he accepted from Fred Baron and Bunny Mellon in 2007 and 2008 were campaign contributions and he had a legal duty to report them.

As the worm turns.

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  • Display: Sort:
    And what in the living (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Zorba on Tue May 08, 2012 at 04:58:58 PM EST
    He!! does this have to do with the actual charges against Edwards?  Yes, Edwards was not exactly pristine pure in his private life (to say the very least), but it has nothing to do with the case.  Sounds as though the prosecution just wants to obfuscate everything and throw enough manure on Edwards that the jury will get disgusted (or tired) and convict him of anything.  We get it.  John Edwards cheated on his wife and tried to hide it.  This has nothing to do with the charges against him.  And our taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for this farce.  I want my taxpayer dollars back!

    Edwards had (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by bmaz on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:15:06 PM EST
    ...a joint defense agreement with other grand jury witnesses in this case so they could discuss their GJ testimony.  See page two of Gerstein's article here.


    but he didn't need an agreement (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 08, 2012 at 08:26:50 PM EST
    The federal grand jury secrecy rules don't apply to witnesses, just to prosecutors, their agents, investigators and others working for the Government. Witnesses are free to discuss their testimony with whomever they want.

    Joint defense agreements are between defendants -- and in a pre-indictment case, those that might be defendants. The witnesses who testified were either told they were not targets or given immunity. If the witnesses had gotten a target letter, or not gotten a promise they weren't going to be charged, I doubt they would have testified.

    Also, that is second hand information from a speechwriter who testified today, she's a non-lawyer who testified as to what Edwards told her.

    I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what the testimony was, but this doesn't sound quite right.


    Oh, am quite aware (none / 0) (#9)
    by bmaz on Tue May 08, 2012 at 09:29:48 PM EST
    ...that witnesses have no 6(e) problems; it was the JDA in conjunction with it all that struck me as curious. Because, like you say it is likely witnesses, not targets/defendants. Maybe it is just bad info as you suggest may be possible.  But I know Gerstein, asked him about it, and he seemed pretty adamant (and he is a very decent reporter actually).  Dunno, but agree something just ain't right here....

    I was referring to Button (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 09, 2012 at 12:25:27 AM EST
    not Gerstein as getting the concept wrong. I'm sure Gerstein accurately reported what Button said. Her account just makes no sense.

    I asked (none / 0) (#11)
    by bmaz on Wed May 09, 2012 at 08:33:15 AM EST
    Josh to try to nail it down better in light of what I related to him.

    Are you sure the prosecution (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue May 08, 2012 at 05:14:48 PM EST
     asked Toben re the tape?  From the link it appears Edwards' counsel's story is both Toben and Young are bitter money grabbers.  

    No one said the prosecutor asked him (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:21:23 PM EST
    about the sex tape. My post says "he testified" and I gave the link to the ABC News article.

    I intended my comment (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:51:26 PM EST
    be a reply to Zorba's.

    Okay, then I'm really confused. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by sj on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:09:34 PM EST
    From Zorba's comment: (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Tue May 08, 2012 at 07:21:44 PM EST
    Sounds as though the prosecution just wants to obfuscate everything and throw enough manure on Edwards that the jury will get disgusted (or tired) and convict him of anything