The trial of the year — the sensational case of John Edwards that began Monday in Greensboro, N.C. — is going to be irresistible for D.C. insiders, thanks to a parade of high-profile witnesses and political insiders.
To determine if Edwards used campaign money to hide his extramarital affair, the prosecution and defense have compiled a list of key staffers, donors and friends who will testify in the real-life drama of sex, money and ambition.
Topping both lists is Rielle Hunter, the campaign videographer who had Edwards’s baby. Although the romantic relationship between the two appears to have fizzled out, they see each other during visits with now 4-year-old daughter, Frances Quinn.
Also on both lists: Bunny Mellon, the 101-year-old Virginia heiress who paid for Hunter’s flight across the country. (Mellon’s too old to travel; lawyer Alex Forger will take her place.) Former Edwards press secretary Jennifer Palmieri is also expected to be called. Key witness for the prosecution: Andrew Young, Edward’s former best friend who hid the pregnant Hunter during the campaign — and at one point even claimed the baby was his. Young bitterly fell out with Edwards, made a deal with the government and wrote ‘The Politician,” a bitter tell-all of the affair.
The defense list includes Cate Edwards, the oldest daughter of John and late wife, Elizabeth; she recently married and began a foundation in her mother’s name. Also Julianna Smoot, finance director for Edward’s 1998 Senate bid now working for President Obama’s re-election campaign.
Not every name on the lists will be called, but Judge Catherine Eagles ruled that all witnesses be sequestered — which means (except for Cate and immediate family) they won’t be allowed in the courtroom except for their testimony.
Read earlier: For John Edwards, isolation is a symbol of his downfall, 4/11/12