Former John Edwards aide Andrew Young was declared in contempt of court today in a dispute over a purported sex tape allegedly made by the one-time presidential hopeful and his mistress.
A North Carolina judge declined to arrest Young during the hearing, demanding instead that Young deliver to the court the "personal videotape" being sought by Rielle Hunter. The contempt ruling will be dropped if the tape and photos are delivered to the court by Wednesday.
"These items are to be produced and turned over to the court," Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones said. "The court will put them under lock and key -- and under seal -- until the lawsuit is resolved."
Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri Young, both filed affidavits indicating they would try to comply with the order. However, the Youngs said the videos, including multiple copies of the "personal videotape," were in a safety deposit box in Atlanta that required two keys to open, and one of the keys was in possession of a lawyer undergoing medical treatment in New York.
In addition, a copy of the so-called "Edwards tape" is not available to be turned over to the North Carolina court because it already has been given to the FBI in Washington, D.C., "for grand jury," Andrew Young said.
Hunter was not present at today's hearing. She was awarded a temporary restraining order last week that prevents Young from distributing the tape and photos in his possession, which she claims belong to her.
Hunter said she made and hid a videotape that "depicted matters of a very private and personal nature" in or around September 2006, according to an affidavit filed Jan. 28, 2009.
Young argued in court papers Thursday that he and Cheri Young were not in possession of a video tape that matched Hunter's description, and that Hunter had no legal claim to the tape.
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' VideoHunter also has filed suit against the Youngs to seek damages for invasion of privacy.
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