TODAY | May 10, 2012
>>> prosecutors are wrapping up their case at the criminal trial of john edwards . this after one of the most dramatic and emotional days of testimony yet. nbc's lisa myers is at the courthouse in greensboro, north carolina , once again this morning. lisa , good morning.
>> reporter: hey, ann, good morning. prosecutors are expected to finish presenting their case today without calling rielle hunter as a witness. in fact, in the closing hours of their case, the spotlight was on elizabeth edwards who a friend testified was consumed by her husband's betrayal. in at times wrenching testimony, jennifer paul mary, confidante of elizabeth edwards and press secretary for john, talked about elizabeth 's reluctance to believe her husband had lied about fathering rielle hunter's child. about her desire to keep the public from knowing about the affair. and above all, to keep her family intact. but john and elizabeth did separate. and paul mary fought back tears as she talked about elizabeth 's final days when she lay dying of breast cancer . she testified that previously elizabeth had expressed concern that when she died, there would not be a man around who loved her. and i said, "i will be there, he, meaning john, will be there." and she testified that john was there tending to elizabeth when she died.
>> it was the most powerful, the most emotional testimony i've seen throughout this trial, and i think it helped john edwards . elizabeth edwards on her death bed wanted john edwards by her side.
>> reporter: but much of what she had to say was not helpful to her former boss. she recounted a very emotional scene in this iowa hotel in october 2007 . when elizabeth angrily confronted a donor she learned was helping rielle hunter. palmeri said elizabeth thought the affair was over and was very upset that donor fred baron and his wife, lisa , were in contact with hunter. blue even had flown hunter to los angeles on a shopping trip. palmeri said elizabeth argued that spending time and money on hunter makes john look even more guilty of the affair. she said lisa argued that "you gotta hold your friends close and your enemies even closer " and that rielle was "a loose cannon who might go to the press." palmeri said john edwards was there but said very little. "i found that a little unnerving," she added.
>> it specifically shows that john edwards knew in realtime that miss hunter was being taken care of by the barons.
>> reporter: prosecutors charge that baron's money was used to hide the affair and amounted to illegal campaign contributions to edwards which edwards denies. if prosecutors do not call rielle hunter to the stand, the defense still could. but given how thoroughly she's been trashed by the government and her role in breaking up a marriage, edwards ' legal team could decide that she's simply too big a risk, ann.