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MICHAEL BIESECKER
Associated Press

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - A former aide to John Edwards has taken the witness stand in his criminal trial to testify about the ex-senator's role in allegedly violating campaign finance laws to cover up an extramarital affair.

Andrew Young was the first witness called by prosecutors Monday as they began making their case that Edwards masterminded a conspiracy to use nearly $1 million in secret payments from two wealthy donors to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008.

Young recounted meeting the woman, Rielle Hunter, as she travelled with Edwards in 2006. Young also introduced Edwards to Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, an heiress who provided much of the money at issue.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to six counts of violating campaign finance laws.

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