Local Politics

Ex-aide says sex tape doesn't belong to Edwards' mistress

Posted February 4, 2010

— A former aide of two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards argued in court papers filed Thursday that a videotape showing Edwards having sex with a woman shouldn't be turned over to the politician's mistress.

Rielle Hunter a week ago obtained a temporary restraining order to prevent Andrew Young from using the video to promote his tell-all book, "The Politician," which went on sale last Saturday.

Hunter also filed suit against Andrew Young, who was among Edwards' top campaign aides, and his wife, Cheri Young, demanding that the tape be returned to her.

A court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in the case.

Hunter said in her court filings that a video she made in September 2006 "depicted matters of a very private and personal nature." She alleged that the videos were stored at a home that Young rented for her in the gated Governor's Club development in Chatham County and that it disappeared at about the same time that the Youngs went to the house in August 2008 to pick up Hunter's passport for her.

In a response to the restraining order, the Youngs contend that Hunter left the video in their house, where she lived for a short time in 2007 before moving to the Governor's Club. They considered the tape "abandoned property" since Hunter didn't ask to get it back for almost two years.

The Youngs also maintain that the tape they have couldn't be the one Hunter is after since it depicts a visibly pregnant woman having sex with Edwards. If the tape was made in September 2006, it couldn't depict Hunter because she didn't get pregnant until mid-2007, so they claim she has no right to it.

If Hunter misstated when the tape was made and is the woman depicted, the Youngs said, the restraining order isn't valid since it references a tape made in September 2006.

Hunter claimed in her suit that the Youngs also have two campaign-related videos and eight photos of her daughter. Edwards admitted last month that he was the girl's father.

The Youngs maintain that since the campaign paid Hunter to produce the videos, she doesn't own them and isn't entitled to them. They also denied having any photos of her daughter other than pictures they took or that Hunter gave to them.

Hunter alleged that the Youngs want to use the video and photos to generate publicity for "The Politician."

In a Monday interview with WRAL News, Andrew Young said he kept the video solely to back up his story about Edwards' affair. He said he never intended to profit from the video, noting he had turned down offers to sell it.

A federal grand jury in Raleigh has been investigating whether money from the Edwards' campaign was illegally used to cover up the affair.


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  • unc70 Feb 5, 2010

    The registration requirement for copyright protection of unpublished works was removed 30 years ago. Current law does not require the copyright notification statement either, with a few exceptions mostly dealing with earlier works. Copyright is immediate when the work is created (e.g. filming video). Any transfer of copyrights must be in writing. Possesion of a physical copy, even the only copy, conveys none of the rights of the copyright of the holder.

    Its a bit more complicated, particularly for "published" works, covering things like what limited rights are granted to someone buying a music CD.

    The US Copyright Office web site has good docs on all this.

  • clayt85 Feb 5, 2010

    Why pay for tickets to the circus when you can just watch the news?

    Edwards has truly embarrassed the state of North Carolina.

  • ptfmom Feb 5, 2010

    I am really sick of this story. I don't care when it was made, if it wasn't him in the tape then he needs to give up the tape.

  • archmaker Feb 4, 2010

    the copyright idea shared by unc70 wouldn't work because supposedly she pulled the tape out of the cassette and threw it all in the trash. any police department can tell you, once its thrown away, its not yours anymore (and can be used as evidence without a search warrant).

    it was in the trash where they belong....oops, i mean 'it' belongs...it :o)

  • anonemoose Feb 4, 2010

    UNC70, I very seriously doubt that the video carries the copyright statement and that the disc has it either. BTDT, thanks Wal Mart photo department for copying my work and enlarging it. I appreciated the check that equaled about a year of my part time photog work. All it took was the little sticker on the back of the picture, and also I'm sure the owner of the video didn't register it within the time required.

  • UreapwhatUsow Feb 4, 2010

    You've got to wonder how many sex tapes Rielle made, and don't think she wasn't aware. She probably planned to use them against John Edwards for her own gain, after all, she is a videographer!

  • Justabum Feb 4, 2010

    How is this tape supposed to be used to help promote the book? If the country is going to be expected to watch a tape of Edwards engaged in sex, I believe I'll pass, thank you.

  • mrduffin Feb 4, 2010

    Young is one sorry human being!

  • fearna Feb 4, 2010

    Why is this even newsworthy? Obviously the story is out, so keeping the tape at this point is just a path to sleezy publicity. If Andrew and his wife have good intentions as they claim, they would have returned the tape to one of the stars and used the a more mature way to gain recognition.

  • unc70 Feb 4, 2010

    Whenever tape was made, Hunter is still the copyright holder. She could request an order under the same laws that prevent one from making bootleg copies of "Avatar" and selling or giving them away. Edwards campaign holds copyright on the other tapes as contract deliverables.

    Any semi-competent attorney should know that Copyright law provides the best protection, an enumerated right in the Constitution, with centuries of enabling legislation, well-defined remedies including civil and criminal penalties, extensive case law and judicial review, with treaties extending protection worldwide. This BS about abandoned property, etc. is too clever by half, moot under copyright, might annoy the judge.

    Have not read the filings because SWF format. I would expect Hunter's attorney included an "and all similar items from any date" in their TRO request, otherwise easily remedied.

    No, Edwards was not in office at that time; unclear if Edwards even knew he was being filmed.