Local/State

Edwards gets delay in sex tape case

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Afer hearing arguments Thursday, a judge in Raleigh decided that former presidential candidate John Edwards does not have to testify this month in a case involving a purported sex tape.

Days after Edwards was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he violated campaign finance laws, his lawyers asked a judge to delay his scheduled deposition in a lawsuit filed by his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, against Andrew and Cheri Young, over the ownership of an alleged sex tape.

Edwards testified in a February deposition, but refused to answer some questions, so Superior Court Judge Carl Fox ordered a new deposition on June 20.

However, Edwards' filing asked that the deposition to be delayed until the criminal case against him is resolved. Earlier this month, he pleaded not guilty.

"We have a cooperating witness, under an immunity agreement, who now seeks to depose a criminal defendant on the issues that are squarely contained by the indictment," Edwards' attorney James Cooney said.

In a court filing obtained by ABC11, Edwards says answering questions under oath would violate his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Click here to read the motion (.pdf)

On Thursday, Edwards got what he was asking for.

"As much as I don't like the idea of staying the continued deposition of Mr. Edwards, it's absolutely necessary in the interest of justice," Judge Carl Fox said.

The attorney representing the Youngs says this will mean a delay in the civil case.

"We can't argue with Judge Fox's concern about maintaining the integrity of the criminal case," the attorney said. "We don't think it was necessary here, we don't think we should have been put in this position, we think Senator Edwards should have answered the questions the first time they were asked before he was indicted."

Hunter worked as a videographer in 2006 for Edwards' political action committee. Edwards initially denied an affair and later denied fathering a child with Hunter. He has since admitted to both.

Hunter sued Young and his wife for invasion of privacy in an effort to get the sex video. She has said she attempted to destroy the video tape by pulling it out of its cassette box before storing it in a box of private belongings.

Young, who has said he helped keep Hunter in hiding for Edwards during the 2008 presidential campaign - and later wrote a book about the experience - contends the tape was found amid trash that Hunter left behind in a home that he was renting.

Edwards' criminal trial was originally set for July 11. A joint motion filed in federal court last week delays that indefinitely.

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(Copyright ©2014 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved - The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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john edwards, andrew young, rielle hunter, local/state
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