No contempt charge against ex-Edwards aide in sex tape dispute
Posted August 6, 2012
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — The Orange County district attorney said Monday that he won't pursue contempt of court charges against a former aide to two-time presidential candidate John Edwards.
Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan asked District Attorney Jim Woodall in June to investigate possible contempt charges against Andrew Young, his wife and the attorneys who defended him in a civil suit brought by Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter.
Hunter sued the Youngs two years ago, seeking to recover personal items she said they took from a house she was renting in Chatham County in 2007. The items included a purported sex video she recorded with Edwards during his 2008 presidential campaign and photographs of him with their daughter.
The two sides settled the lawsuit in February, and all copies of the sex tape were to be destroyed.
During the course of the suit, however, Hunter's attorneys alleged that the Youngs violated a state court order by turning some information over to federal prosecutors, including a deposition that Edwards made in the case.
Superior Court Judge Carl Fox had ordered that much of the evidence in the lawsuit to remain sealed.
The Youngs and their attorneys, Robert "Hoppy" Elliot and David Pishko, maintained that they were only complying with a federal subpoena in the criminal case against Edwards.
Morgan found there was probable cause that the Youngs and the two attorneys had violated a requirement in a state judge’s order calling on them to notify Hunter's attorneys within six days if anything had been released regarding the civil case.
Woodall said his investigation determined that Elliot and Pishko sought guidance from Fox when federal investigators asked for information.
"I’m very confident that the state would not have been able to prove this case, and frankly, I think this is a matter that needs to be put to rest," Woodall said. "The civil case has been settled, all the other matters to my knowledge have been settled, and I think the end needs to come to this. I don’t think there would be any state purpose served in pursing a prosecution.”
Sources have indicated that attorneys involved in the case were not to comment about it.
A federal jury acquitted Edwards in May of one charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions, and prosecutors dropped five other charges when jurors couldn't reach a verdict after nine days of deliberations.