John Edwards Deposed in Civil Suit

No limits on questions, but strict protections against leaks of testimony.

ByABC News
February 11, 2011, 6:35 PM

Feb. 11, 2011 — -- John Edwards is talking again about his affair with Rielle Hunter -- but this time he was under oath.

Edwards was deposed earlier this week in Chapel Hill, N.C., in connection with a civil lawsuit Hunter brought against former Edwards aide Andrew Young over a sex tape allegedly depicting Hunter and Edwards, ABC News has learned.

An attorney for Young confirmed that the deposition took place but, beyond that, no one will say a word about the substance of Edwards' testimony.

Attorneys for the ex-senator successfully argued for a broad protective order prohibiting anyone -- under threat of contempt charges -- from disclosing any details of the videotaped deposition.

There were, however, no limits on what questions could be asked.

Separately, a federal criminal investigation of Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign finances is near its conclusion, and sources with knowledge of the probe tell ABC News that a decision on whether to seek indictments could come at any time.

Edwards has not commented publicly on the investigation since May 2009. In his statement then, he expressed confidence "that no funds from my campaign were used improperly."

People magazine last month quoted an unidentified source close to Edwards as saying, "John's optimistic nothing is going to come of it, but even if not, he's like, 'Let's get there, already.'"

Federal investigators have dedicated significant resources to gathering evidence and interviewing key witnesses in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

The focus of the case has been on the money allegedly spent -- upwards of $1 million -- to seclude Hunter and Young, who had falsely claimed paternity of Hunter's child, while Edwards continued his pursuit of the nomination.

But the government has also been digging deeper into Edwards' past, scrutinizing the transactions of a web of loosely-connected political committees, corporations and non-profit organizations associated with his failed campaign, looking for potential violations of campaign finance and tax laws, according to several witnesses who have been interviewed in the probe.