Ex-Edwards Aide Given Deadline Over Sex Tape

Judge threatened to send Andrew Young and his wife to jail for lying about tape.

March 9, 2010, 12:56 PM

March 9, 2010— -- Former John Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife Cheri, dodged a trip to jail today over their handling of a purported sex tape allegedly made by the one-time presidential candidate and his mistress, according to ABC's WTVD-TV.

After ordering the Youngs to go to jail for up to 75 days for contempt of court, Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones changed his mind and gave the couple until Friday to hand over any missing items, including any copies of the tape and to provide an explanation for how they handled the materials.

Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones said that he held the Youngs in contempt because he believes they were not truthful about the disposition of the items he ordered the Youngs to turn over.

"There were things told to the court under oath, in affidavits, in testimony that turned out to be inaccurate. Right now, part of me says they didn't tell me the truth before in this court," Jones said, according to the Raleigh News and Observer.

At today's hearing, lawyers for Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, accused Young of lying and contended that he has not handed over all materials that the court demanded in the judge's Feb. 5 contempt order.

The ex-aide handed over the alleged sex tape, along with additional items, including a CD of photos, to the court last month, but Hunter's lawyers said copies of the tape could be missing.

Young's lawyers maintain that he turned over all copies of the tape to the court last month, except for a copy of the tape that was given to the FBI in Washington, D.C., as part of a grand jury investigation into Edwards' campaign finances.

Hunter's lawyers produced a new affidavit from freelance journalist Roger Draper, who said in a statement that Young showed him the tape in March 2009.

Young failed to mention in his own affidavit that Draper had been shown the tape. His lawyers cited memory lapse for the oversight.

Young and his wife Cheri will testify later today on what Jones identified as discrepancies in their statements.

Today's hearing was the fourth in the more than month-long legal battle over the tape.

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Hunter, 42, was granted a temporary restraining order last month to prevent Young from distributing the tape and other photos, which she contends are her property.

The judge has yet to rule on ownership, but gave Youngs' new legal team permission to view the tapes in the court's posession. Hunter's attorneys say this a continued invasion of her privacy.

Sex Tape Revealed in Young's Book

The existence of a sex tape, along with other revelations on Edwards' affair and allegations of an expensive cover-up of Hunter's pregnancy, came to light in Young's new tell-all book, "The Politician."

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 said the woman in the tape 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. Young, who had worked for Edwards since his 1998 Senate win, said he was absolutely sure it was Edwards in the tape.

In a second affidavit, submitted after Young had handed over copies of the tape to the court, Hunter said that after viewing the tape, she was able to recall when and where the tape was made and that she was not pregnant at the time. She called the Youngs' public assertions to the contrary lies.

Hunter claimed the video was left 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.

Young told ABC News that he'd been offered a "gigantic" amount of money to sell the tape.

Hunter also has filed suit against the Youngs to seek damages for invasion of privacy.

Tamara Gibbs of ABC's Raleigh affiliate WTVD and The Associated Press contributed to this report.