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Edwards chair denies hush money

From NBC's Chuck Todd and Jim Popkin
Fred Baron, John Edwards' campaign finance chairman and longtime confidante, told NBC News in telephone interviews, he has been providing financial assistance to both Andrew Young and Rielle Hunter.

Young is the married Edwards campaign staffer who has admitted to fathering Hunter's child. Earlier today, Edwards admitted to also having an affair with Hunter.

Baron said he was personally upset with how the National Enquirer was harassing the two and helped them relocate out of North Carolina. He has continued to help them with their overhead. 

Baron insisted Edwards never knew what Baron did for Young and Hunter; he believes Edwards didn't even have an inkling that Baron was doing this.

He added that he provided Hunter and Young "with the means" to move away from North Carolina and the tabs' prying eyes.

"My role is to be supportive of these two families," he said.

Hush money? "Of course it wasn't hush money!"

In a separate e-mail response he said he used no campaign funds for the relocation.

"Personal funds only -- no campaign funds," he writes. 

Baron added that Edwards decided to do the interview with ABC News after seeing the photo in the National Enquirer; it was a total fraud, according to Baron. The photo of Edwards is at least six months old; the photo of the baby is two-months old and the picture is potentially Photo Shopped into the picture of the hotel room, Baron said.
It was that National Enquirer photo which was the straw that made Edwards decide he needed to come clean, Baron said. Baron also believes the interview itself is remarkable and is upset that it is not the first word on this entire story. The original intention of the ABC interview was for the news made to be held until the airing of the interview.
Baron said he and Edwards decided to go public today because the attacks from the National Enquirer have been so vicious and there have been so many lies.

"Everything the National Enquirer has done is nefarious," Baron said.

Edwards did the interview to clear up mistakes and mostly to stop the tabloids from hounding Hunter and her child and Andrew Young and his family, Baron said.