- Associated Press - Thursday, October 21, 2010

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — A judge in the legal battle over a purported sex tape involving former Sen. John Edwards demanded Thursday that any deposition of Mr. Edwards, a two-time presidential candidate, be kept private.

Judge Carl Fox said he didn’t want the details of such testimony to be discussed or released publicly, warning attorneys for both sides that there could be repercussions if the material is talked about outside of the case.

“I won’t hesitate to use the contempt authority of this court,” Judge Fox said. “I don’t [want] anyone to think this court is joking.”

Attorneys for former Edwards aide Andrew Young have been trying to depose the former North Carolina senator for months. They want to ask him questions about a sex tape that Mr. Young has said involves Mr. Edwards.

Judge Fox denied a request by Mr. Edwards’ attorney, Jim Cooney, to limit the scope of the questioning. Mr. Cooney also failed to persuade the judge to prohibit Mr. Young from having the chance to view the deposition.

“I have an extreme amount of concern, given the fact that his clients have essentially built a commercial enterprise on things that Sen. Edwards has said,” Mr. Cooney said. “Having access to this, once the bell has been rung, we can’t un-ring it.”

Mr. Edwards’ mistress, Rielle Hunter, is suing to reclaim materials, including the video, saying they were taken from a box of her personal belongings. Mr. Young, who has said he helped keep Ms. Hunter in hiding during the 2008 presidential campaign, contends the tape was found amid trash that Ms. Hunter left behind in a home that he was renting.

Ms. Hunter worked for Mr. Edwards’ political action committee in 2006, shooting behind-the-scenes video as Mr. Edwards, a Democrat, prepared to launch his second White House campaign. Mr. Edwards acknowledged earlier this year that he fathered a child with Ms. Hunter. He and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, separated after more than 30 years of marriage.

Mr. Young, Ms. Hunter and Mr. Edwards were not at the hearing, which was set to resume Thursday afternoon.

 

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