Contempt hearing postponed in Edwards sex tape case
Posted October 31, 2011
PITTSBORO, N.C. — A Superior Court judge on Monday postponed a contempt of court hearing in a civil suit over ownership of a videotape purported to show two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards having sex with his former mistress, Rielle Hunter.
Hunter is suing former Edwards staffer Andrew Young for the return of personal property, including the purported sex tape. Hunter says Young, his wife and their lawyers violated a judge's order by sharing information with federal prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against Edwards.
The Youngs say they were merely complying with a federal court order.
Senior U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan issued a sealed subpoena earlier this year directing the Youngs' lawyers to turn over thousands of pages of the confidential records to federal prosecutors, including transcripts of a day-long deposition given by Edwards.
A contempt hearing had been set for Nov. 7, but Judge Michael Morgan on Monday pushed the hearing back until January, noting that he needed to allow another federal judge to rule on an effort by Hunter's attorneys to get federal prosecutors to testify at the contempt hearing.
Last Friday, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles to quash three subpoenas compelling the prosecutors to appear at the contempt hearing.
Attorney Philip Isley also told Morgan that he has represented Young on the contempt motion for less than two weeks and needs more time to prepare.
"There are enormous amounts of sealed documents related to the criminal indictment of Mr. Edwards that are involved in their civil case as well as the civil contempt proceeding," Isley said during a court hearing Monday afternoon. "We believe a continuance is absolutely necessary for us to be able to put on the best case that we possibly can, and we really feel that we're stuck between a rock and a hard place."
Morgan said he needed to set a Jan. 30 date for the contempt hearing "to make sure this case – the criminal contempt component of the case for which I have responsibility – doesn't languish."
Edwards also is scheduled to go on trial in January. The former U.S. senator from North Carolina is accused of using campaign funds to cover up his affair with Hunter during his 2008 run for the White House. He has pleaded not guilty.