Nightly News | May 04, 2012
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: John Edwards ' trial on campaign finance charges turned to the actual finance part of the story today. Testimony about how money from an elderly heiress who thought she was supporting Edwards run for president ended up being used to take care of his mistress instead. It's been an emotional few days in court, in part because everyone's thinking about Elizabeth Edwards , who waged such a tough and public battle against breast cancer. NBC 's Lisa Myers reports from Greensboro , North Carolina .
Former Senator JOHN EDWARDS: Good morning. Good morning.
LISA MYERS reporting: It's been a week of high drama. Testimony about the anguish of Elizabeth Edwards , daughter Cate leaving the courtroom in tears, accounts of expletive laced conversations between Edwards and campaign staff over his relationship with Rielle Hunter . But today a change of pace . Bryan Huffman , the charming, stylish decorator and friend of 101-year-old heiress "Bunny" Mellon told the jury how he became a middleman for what became know as the "Bunny Money," used to help cover up Edwards ' affair. Huffman testified that when Mellon learned that the $725,000 she provided to help Edwards with an unspecified personal problem actually was meant to take care of Hunter , she didn't condemn him for having an affair. But Huffman said, "She thought that you should probably pay for your girlfriend yourself."
Mr. HAMPTON DELLINGER (Legal Analyst): The jury erupted in laughter, as did much of the courtroom, and even the judge cracked a smile.
MYERS: Huffman said he and Mellon referred to the money for Edwards as their "furniture business" because the payments were disguised as checks to buy furniture. Why hide what was going on? Mellon didn't want her lawyer to know because he didn't want her to give any more money to Edwards . Huffman said Mellon told him it was the prosecution's star witness Andrew Young and not Edwards himself who asked her for this money.
Mr. DELLINGER: That supports the defense theory of the case that this money flow was created by Andrew Young to line his own pockets, not orchestrated by John Edwards to cover up the affair in a way that violated election law.
MYERS: Edwards denies he broke any laws. Later in the day, Mellon 's lawyer testified that he figured out there was no furniture business after one of Mellon 's big checks bounced. He took a closer look and was told the money was actually for John Edwards . Lisa Myers , NBC News , Greensboro , North Carolina .