State News

Judge wants Edwards' testimony in sex tape dispute kept private

Posted October 21, 2010 9:15 a.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2010 4:38 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered that depositions by former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his mistress over a purported sex tape be kept confidential.

Rielle Hunter, a former campaign worker who gave birth to Edwards' daughter, has sued one-time Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife, alleging that they took the sex tape and photographs of Edwards with his daughter from her.

Judge Carl Fox ordered that depositions of Edwards and Hunter in the case be used only for court proceedings, and he warned the Youngs that he would jail them on contempt of court charges if they discussed the contents of the depositions outside of court.

Edwards' attorney, Jim Cooney, asked that questioning of Edwards be limited to his knowledge of the tape's ownership and physical possession and his knowledge of the ownership of the home where the tape was stored and of Young's right to inspect the premises.

"This is a lawsuit, at its essence, about property rights," Cooney said. "This was a deposition that was intended to go very far afield of the ownership of those tapes."

Young's attorney, Hoppy Elliott, argued that restrictions shouldn't be placed on the questioning.

"This is a discovery process, and he will be a witness in this case," Elliott said. "We need the right to use the discovery procedures."

Fox declined to restrict the questioning of Edwards but did limit the documents he needed to provide.

Hunter alleges in court documents that the Youngs used the video and photos to wrangle book and movie deals for "The Politician," Young's tell-all book about Edwards.

Young surrendered copies of the sex tape and CDs filled with photos to the court in March. The items will be kept under seal until the lawsuit is resolved.

Young, who pretended to be the father of Hunter's child during the 2008 presidential campaign, has said that he kept the video and photos solely to corroborate his story and never used them for publicity or profit. He also contends that Hunter abandoned the property in a rented house in Chatham County.