Cheri says she was shocked when she learned of John's request. "He told me, 'Edwards wants me to claim the baby,'" she says. "I looked at him and simply said: 'Why in the world would you even tell me about this? You say no. We have done enough.'"

Later that night, Andrew and Cheri say they had a call with John and Rielle. "[John said] this was his chance. 'We've worked so hard. I'm so close,'" she says. "Then Elizabeth—he laid that on us. That she was very ill. She was going to pass very soon. He couldn't let her know this."

Andrew and Cheri had only 12 hours to make a decision. "We made the wrong decision on so many different levels," he says. "But we truly believed in John Edwards. I loved him like a big brother. I loved Elizabeth like a big sister. Does that make it right? Absolutely not."

Neither Andrew nor Cheri say they realized the heartache this would cause their family—or the fact that they were helping deceive the American public. "We didn't think about the consequences," she says. "America was fooled. We were all fooled."


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