Judge orders ex-Edwards aide to turn over sex tape
Posted February 5, 2010
Pittsboro, N.C. — A Superior Court judge on Friday ordered a former aide to two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards to turn over a videotape that purportedly shows the candidate having extramarital sex.
Judge Abraham Penn Jones said the tape, as well as several photos, need to be surrendered by 2 p.m. Wednesday. All items will remain sealed by the court until a lawsuit over them is resolved.
"Please comply so we don't have to go to the next step," Jones told Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri Young.
The judge found the couple in contempt of court for not producing the video and photos Friday. Still, he declined to put them in jail, saying he believes they will work to meet his Wednesday deadline.
"We're happy to give the materials to the court," Andrew Young said after the brief court hearing. "In over two years, we never did anything with them. There's a reason nobody's ever seen the tape."
In an affidavit filed with the court late Friday, Young said the original and a copy of the sex tape are in a safe deposit box in Atlanta. He said he turned a copy of the tape over to the FBI when he testified to a federal grand jury in Raleigh that has been investigating whether money from the Edwards' campaign was illegally used to cover up the affair.
Eight photos are on Young's laptop computer in Raleigh, he said.
Rielle Hunter, a campaign staffer who had an affair and a child with Edwards, sued the Youngs last week, saying they had taken a video she described as "very private and personal," as well as two campaign videos she shot and eight pictures of her daughter. The videos were in a box in a Chatham County house the Youngs rented for her in 2007, while the photos were on her digital camera or laptop, she said.
Hunter was in an undisclosed location in Pittsboro on Friday, ready to testify in the dispute if needed, said her attorney, Wade Barber.
The Youngs maintain that Hunter abandoned the items, saying she left them in the home and didn't ask about them for two years. They also question whether Hunter has a right to the sex tape, noting she might not even be the woman with Edwards on the tape.
"We don't believe Rielle owns it," Andrew Young said of the sex tape.
Hunter contends that the Youngs plan to use the items to generate publicity for Andrew Young's tell-all book about the Edwards campaign and the affair. "The Politician" went on sale last weekend and quickly became a national best-seller.
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 has turned down offers to sell it.
"I felt security having the tape," Cheri Young said. "It was proof."
Andrew Young said the tape shows Edwards' arrogance and cavalier attitude toward his affair.
"Just a couple of months before the presidential election, he tapes a tape with a clearly pregnant woman and then doesn't even go to the trouble to hide it or destroy it," he said.