Buried in the middle of Lisa DePaulo’s extensive GQ interview with John Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter was an interesting tidbit: Edwards invited Hunter to his hotel room, and apparently had her in bed within an hour of meeting her on a Manhattan street corner. Hardly the behavior pattern of someone who had been faithful to his wife for 30 years. So the next logical questions: Does John Edwards have a Tiger Woods problem? Are there more mistresses out there?
Andrew Young now thinks so. The former aide, who authored the bestselling book The Politician, sat down this morning and detailed for me the evidence of prior flings. “I was one of those ones that turned a blind eye, I didn’t want to see some of the things that I saw,” says Young. “But after I became his absolute confidant, he told me about a lot of things.”
“He would use my cellphone and the callback number would be some woman that I’d never heard of before.”
“A lot of women?” I asked.
“ A lot of women,” he responded. “Well, I don’t know that there were a lot of women. There were several women that he told me about. It’s something looking back that I should have been suspicious of and like when were staying in hotels together he would go out for a ‘jog’ at two o’clock in the morning, and I would run into that more and more.”
“I’d go to knock on his door in the morning, there’d be towels stuffed underneath the door and I would hear muffled voices, or he would use my cellphone and the callback number would be some woman that I’d never heard of before,” Young continues. “There were signs there I just never paid attention to them because you know … in nine years, three times, we were running for vice president or president, and it was so chaotic, it was easy to overlook these things.”
• Ann Louise Bardach: My Tenant, Rielle Hunter• Diane Dimond: Edwards Sex Tape DetailsYoung told me that he has now spent more than $100,000 defending himself against Hunter’s invasion of privacy suit, and remains convinced that Edwards is bankrolling the action in a vengeful effort to drain him of cash. Young says that he looks forward to facing Hunter, who is scheduled to be under oath for a deposition, next Wednesday. "That's where I go on the offensive,” he says. “Unless she drops the suit, she's compelled to be there March 24."
In our far-reaching talk, Young also said that he believes there are other copies of the sex tape he discovered ( whose details I revealed for the first time yesterday in The Daily Beast), that Elizabeth Edwards may have exaggerated her illness to help her husband’s campaign, and that he has some issues with the writer who conducted GQ’s Rielle Hunter interview. Here are some of the other details from my sit-down with him this morning:
You spent a lot of time in the car with him driving around the state of North Carolina as candidate, and he has a very magnetic personality, and I can imagine that women would throw themselves all over him. Did he respond to other women?
In public, absolutely not. The first time that I ever caught wind of anything was just when I’d be in the car with him, he was talking to Elizabeth six or seven hours a day… over time I realized that this was more of a mother-son relationship. She was the mastermind behind the campaign. She was the brains behind the operation. And she openly made fun of him for not being as smart… She would ride around listening to books on Einstein’s theory of relativity for fun.
And she did not like the fact that his birth name is Johnny Reid [Edwards], she never called him Johnny Reid like Rielle did.
She didn’t like the name, she didn’t like that he grew up in South Carolina, she didn’t like his parents… it didn’t fit in to her image of her perfect cosmopolitan husband. What was perfect for her was living in Georgetown in one of the mansions just down from where the Kennedys used to live…. That was her perfect world.
Back to John Edwards on the road. John Edwards traveled a lot. We now know that the very first night he laid eyes on Rielle Hunter he was in bed with Rielle Hunter. That tells me this is a man that might be used to doing things like this while he’s on the road. Are there other Rielles out there?
Obviously, yes. I was one of those ones that turned a blind eye, I didn’t want to see some of the things that I saw. But after I became his absolute confidant, he told me about a lot of things.
A lot of women?
A lot of women. Well, I don’t know that there a lot of women, there were several women that he told me about. It’s something looking back that I should have been suspicious of, and like when were staying in hotels together he would go out for a “jog” at two o’clock in the morning, and I would run into that more and more. I’d go to knock on his door in the morning, there’d be towels stuffed underneath the door and I would hear muffled voices, or he would use my cellphone and the callback number would be some woman that I’d never heard of before… There were signs there I just never paid attention to them because you know … in nine years, three times, we were running for vice president or president, and it was so chaotic, it was easy to overlook these things.
If John Edwards has the bad decision-making to make one sex tape, do you think he’s made others?
The one I had looks like a double… there’s no voice, there’s no audio, and it looks like a double. You have to go with one of two theories: Either Rielle left that tape behind intentionally—we had four days to pack before we left—you would think that if you had a tape of a presidential candidate having sex that that would be one of the first things that you’d pack. You know, toothbrush, hairbrush, tape of presidential candidate having sex… She had four days to pack and she left that there for over a year, and then had opportunities when I went back or others went back to get that thing out of there.
She asked for her passport back at one point.
She asked for her passport, she asked for several other items… and it goes to the arrogance of people that run for presidential office, think they’re bulletproof. They that people like us aren’t supposed to know.
I want to clarify something. Do you think he’s made other sex tapes with other women?
I wouldn’t know that. I think that there are other sex tapes. The way that this thing was made and the way that it comes across and the way that it was casually left behind lead you to one of two conclusions: One, that she intentionally left it to be found, or two, that there were other sex tapes and she just forgot about this one.
I’m looking at this [GQ] spread of Rielle Hunter. What if Playboy came calling? She was pretty close to having no clothes on, do you think she’d pose for Playboy?
I don’t think Playboy would ask her.
But what if they did?
Well, Playgirl could ask me. I have no idea. I will say that this article is very bizarre and… and I would point out that she’s suing me for invasion of privacy and all of this kind of stuff like this and then she does these semi-nude pictures in a national magazine? To me, it takes a lot of merit out of her case.
The woman who wrote this article for GQ magazine. You know her. How?
The gentleman who… dropped the bombshell report, who dropped an affidavit claiming that I showed him the sex tape, his name’s Rob Draper… he claimed that I showed him the sex tape and I don’t think I did. He had recommended to me that I hire Lisa DePaulo as a writer, to write my book. And so I signed a confidentiality agreement and we were on the verge of signing a contract, pending her writing a good proposal that landed a good contract. We spent a month and a half or more with her and she had complete access to all of my information.
You showed Lisa DePaulo all of your research, all of your evidence?
Yes, she had complete access to all of my information. And when she wrote this article, she did not contact us to say I’m writing this article, she did not expose that in the article. I don’t know much about the ethics of journalism, but it seems to me that that should have been exposed to one of the three principals in this bizarre story, if she’s going to write a story about one of the other two, that she should expose that in the article or at least contact us to see if that’s OK.
Do you believe John Edwards is going to be indicted soon?
I think the grand jury… the grand jury doesn’t tell you anything, but I think the grand jury has put a lot of time, energy, and taxpayer money into it, and they’ve been at this for a year and a half, two years, and I think they’re going to do something, I don’t know what.
Looking at his campaign finances and the way he spent money, specifically on Rielle Hunter, do you think he’s guilty of something?
I’d be the wrong one to ask that. I think that they’ve got something they’ve worked very hard on.
A presidential candidate being indicted for the way he spends federal money, that [would be] amazing.
I think the problem facing the grand jury is that when they wrote campaign-finance law, there’s no way they could have anticipated something like this. This would never be a case on first impressions. But hopefully last impression.
Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered the Michael Jackson story since 1993 when she first broke the news that the King of Pop was under investigation for child molestation. She is author of the book, Be Careful Who You Love—Inside the Michael Jackson Case. She lives in New York with her husband, broadcast journalist Michael Schoen.