The long-running court battle over a sexually explicit videotape featuring former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and his mistress, Rielle Hunter, has been settled out of court today and all copies of the tape will be destroyed, ABC News has learned.
According to North Carolina court officials and a Hunter spokesperson, Hunter and former Edwards' aide Andrew Young, along with his wife Cheri, agreed to end their dispute more than two years after the case was originally filed. Under the terms of the settlement, all known copies of the sex tape are to be destroyed within 30 days. If other copies of the tape surface later, the agreement requires those to be destroyed as well.
The court determined that other disputed items in the case, including a series of intimate photos of Hunter and her daughter, belong to Ms. Hunter and would be turned over to her. The Youngs admitted no liability.
Hunter spokesperson RoseMarie Terenzio told ABC News today that "Ms. Hunter is very pleased. She won."
Hunter sued the Youngs in January 2010, claiming the couple had stolen from her a "personal and private" videotape that came to be known in court filings as "the Edwards sex tape." She asserted that the Youngs were using the tape to help promote Young's book, "The Politician," which chronicles Edwards' 2008 run for the Democratic presidential nomination and the candidate's affair with Hunter.
Edwards gave a lengthy deposition in the case which eventually ended up in the hands of federal prosecutors who are pursuing a felony campaign finance case against the one-time North Carolina Senator. That trial had been scheduled to begin in January, but has been delayed because Edwards needs treatment for a heart condition.
"We are extremely pleased to have this case resolved," the Youngs said in a statement released by their lawyer today. "There were no 'winners' as such, in that each side had returned back to it that which it believed was its own property, although it was mutually agreed that certain materials should, per the court's order, be destroyed."
In the civil suit, Hunter claimed that the Youngs had entered her former rental home in North Carolina and took the tape from a hat-box containing her personal items. Young, who once falsely claimed to be the father of Hunter's child, disputed Hunter's account, claiming he found the tape partially damaged and discarded in a box of trash in another home they had all previously shared.
"Notably, notwithstanding the outlandish efforts of Ms. Hunter's legal counsel to try to paint Mr. and Mrs. Young as liars and thieves, nothing could be further from the truth - as is unequivocally evidenced by this settlement agreement," the Youngs' statement said.