Former John Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife Cheri argued in court papers today that Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, has no legal claim to a purported sex tape she allegedly made with the one-time presidential candidate.
The Youngs, who were ordered to appear in a North Carolina court Friday morning, said they are not in possession of a "personal video" tape that matches Hunter's description.
Hunter referred to making and hiding a videotape, which "depicted matters of a very private and personal nature," in or around September 2006, according to an affidavit filed last Thursday. She was awarded a temporary restraining order that prevents Young from distributing the tape and photos in his possession, which she claimed belong to her.
Young said the woman in the racy video that is in his possession was noticeably pregnant. While the woman's face is not seen in the video, Cheri Young said the woman is wearing a bracelet and a thumb ring typically worn by Hunter.
Hunter was pregnant in 2007 and gave birth to Edwards' daughter, Frances Quinn, on Feb. 27, 2008.
In their response, the Youngs suggested the possibility that Hunter simply made a mistake when she said her video was made in 2006 instead of 2007. But even if that were true, they argued, Hunter had abandoned the video tape in trash and made no effort to recover it until the summer of 2009.
Hunter claimed the video was found in a hatbox where she kept personal items like her passport in a house that the Youngs rented for her. The Youngs said the video was found in a box of trash in their own home after Hunter stayed with them for several weeks in 2007.
The Youngs also claimed in the court papers that the only item Hunter had previously asked to be returned to her was her passport, and did not ask for any other item from the hatbox, which they said bolsters their argument that Hunter effectively abandoned the tape and surrendered any rights to it.
Hunter also asked for personal photos that had been stored in her computer, but the Youngs claimed the photos in their possession were given to them when Hunter uploaded them to the Youngs' computer.
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Andrew and Cheri Young told "20/20" how they discovered the tape in a pile of trash.
"There was one tape that was marked 'special.' It's a sex tape of Rielle and John Edwards made just a couple of months before the Iowa caucuses," Young told ABC News' Bob Woodruff. "It's amazing the tape exists. ... But to leave it in a house that's for sale -- where realtors are going to be coming through it -- and leave it there for eight months -- is unbelievable."
Andrew Young covered up Edward's affair with Hunter throughout the presidential campaign, acting as a middleman in a love triangle between the presidential hopeful, his wife and his mistress. The once-loyal aide even claimed paternity of Edwards' love child to protect the candidate's reputation and political career.
Rielle Hunter Tries to Block 'Private' Video
Hunter said she left three videotapes and other items in storage at a Chatham County, N.C., house Young had rented for her, assuming they were safe.
"In or about December 2006, the decision was made that the video should be destroyed," she wrote in a court affidavit. "Therefore, I opened up the plastic casing of the miniDV cassette and pulled out the tape contained therein. However, because I was concerned that persons seeking information about my activities were or could be searching my trash, I decided to instead store the remains of the miniDV tape in a hatbox in which I stored other important personal items in order to maintain possession and control over the video. I did not take any action that would obliterate the contents of the tape itself."
In August 2008, she said, while living with the Youngs in Santa Barbara, Calif., she asked them to enter her former North Carolina residence to retrieve her passport, which was stored in the same box as her videotapes.
"I learned the video recordings were missing in September or October 2008, in conjunction with a move of my personal belongings," Hunter wrote. "I believe the Youngs or one of them in fact have possession of the video and/or one or more copies of the video."
Hunter also has filed suit against the Youngs to seek damages for invasion of privacy.
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