Local Politics

Judge wants extra security for Edwards sex tape

Posted February 8, 2010 11:15 a.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2010 9:23 p.m. EST

— A Superior Court judge has ordered that an independent security officer be present when a former aide to two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards retrieves a videotape that purportedly shows the candidate having extramarital sex.

Judge Abraham Penn Jones said he to ensure the items covered in a court order he issued Friday were properly surrendered and that no copies remained outside of the court's custody.

Rielle Hunter, a campaign staffer who had an affair and a child with Edwards, , 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.

Andrew Young was a top aide to Edwards during his two presidential campaigns, and he recently wrote a book, "The Politician," that provides a behind-the-scene look at the campaigns and Edwards' affair with Hunter.

Jones found the Youngs in contempt on Friday for not immediately surrendering the videos and photos, as well as a list of 34 men under the heading "Slut Club," but the judge gave them until 2 p.m. Wednesday to turn the items over.

In , Andrew Young said the original and a copy of the sex tape are in a safe deposit box in Atlanta. He said he turned over another copy of the tape 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.

Jones' order prevents Young from opening the safe deposit box unless an officer from Raleigh-based Risk Management Associates is present to take custody of the items. Also, another officer of the security management firm will be dispatched to the Youngs home to scrub their laptop of any images of Hunter or her child.

Young appealed the order late Monday.

Hunter alleges in her lawsuit that the Youngs wanted the items to generate publicity for the book. She obtained a restraining order that prevents the couple from using the videos or photos.

The videos were in a box in a Chatham County house the Youngs rented for Hunter in 2007, while the photos were on her digital camera or laptop, she said.

The Youngs said last week that they kept the items only to back up details in the book and never intended to profit from them. Still, the contend in court filings that Hunter left the items in a box in their home for more than two years, so she no longer can asset ownership over them since they were abandoned.