GREENSBORO, N.C. – John Edwards’ daughter left the courtroom crying during testimony on Wednesday about a confrontation between her father and deceased mother over the onetime presidential candidate’s extramarital affair.
Former Edwards aide Christina Reynolds was testifying about an argument Elizabeth Edwards had with her husband on the day in October 2007 that a tabloid published a story about his affair. As Reynolds was beginning the account about what happened at the Raleigh airport, Edwards turned to his daughter Cate, who was seated in the front row.
“I don’t know what’s coming; do you want to leave?” Edwards was heard asking.
She responded inaudibly to him, then walked away wiping tears. Edwards was heard saying, “Cate, Cate” as she walked out. Cate Edwards later returned to court after a recess.
Wednesday’s hearing at the campaign finance corruption trial also included an account from another aide who testified that he repeatedly voiced concerns about the mistress, Rielle Hunter, and later left the Edwards staff after an expletive-laced dressing down from the candidate.
But the most stirring testimony came from Reynolds, the candidate’s onetime communications adviser who was also a confidante of Elizabeth Edwards. Reynolds recently joined the board of the educational foundation named for Elizabeth Edwards, who died in December of 2010 after a years-long fight with cancer.
Reynolds told the court that Elizabeth Edwards asked her over to the family’s Chapel Hill home in the summer of 2007 and revealed that her husband had confessed to the affair the previous year. The two women had bonded because they had similar backgrounds in military families.
The following October, Reynolds testified, she observed a very upset Elizabeth Edwards confront her husband at Raleigh-Durham International Airport on the morning that The National Enquirer published a story about the affair. She stormed off and then collapsed in the parking lot, Reynolds said, and the aide and another staff member helped her into the bathroom of a private hangar.
After collecting herself, Elizabeth Edwards came back into the hangar, found her husband and began yelling. She then pulled off her shirt and bra, leaving herself bare-chested, Reynolds said.
“You don’t see me any more,” Reynolds quoted the wife as saying.
Edwards 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.
At issue are payments from wealthy donors that were used to keep Hunter and the baby out of public view. Edwards’ attorneys have said he didn’t know it was being used to hide her.