Witnesses in Edwards trial said heiress thought money was a gift
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GREENSBORO -- The prosecution is running through their witness list. Six witnesses were called to the stand on Monday. They talked about John Edwards' affair, the money and the lengths they went through to keep secrets.
Alexander Forger was the first witness on the stand Monday to testify about heiress Bunny Mellon's multi-million dollar donations.
Forger said Mellon knew the rules for giving to a campaign and insists these checks totaling $725,000 were either a personal gift to benefit Edwards or the money was part of an illegal scam by former campaign aide Andrew Young.
The defense was quick to point out the Youngs were granted immunity by the government.
The prosecution also called a personal friend of the Edwards' and Youngs family to testify. Tim Toben was a donor and supporter of Edwards' campaign and quickly became a vessel for helping to hide the affair.
He testified about gathering mistress Rielle Hunter's personal items at her request, and found a framed photograph of her and Edwards with the caption, "I love you John," and a poster of Edwards as a child.
In Toben's testimony he said Edwards would freely talk about his ability to raise funds from heiress Bunny Mellon in the amount of $50 million, a statement he denied having ever said to Mellon, and blamed Young for being after her money.
"In denial mode about Andrew Young and was in attack mode with Andrew Young," former federal prosecutor Kieran Shanahan said. "He has this meeting with Toben where he freely brings up the name Mrs. Mellon and says he can easily get her to contribute $50 million to a foundation to keep John Edwards' political career alive and well."
Cross-examination of Toben will finish on Tuesday. Edwards' campaign speechwriter will be the next witness called to testify.