PITTSBORO, N.C. – A judge wants to put a sex tape of two-time presidential candidate John Edwards "under lock and key," demanding Friday that a former aide to the pilloried politician turn over the video by next week.
Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones reprimanded Andrew Young during a brief court hearing in North Carolina for not surrendering the video when deputies went to retrieve it last week. Jones declared that the estranged Edwards confidant could face jail for contempt if he does not relinquish the tape and other items by Wednesday afternoon.
"These items are to be produced and turned over to the court," Jones said. "The court will put them under lock and key — and under seal — until the lawsuit is resolved."
Edwards' former mistress, Rielle Hunter, had won a temporary restraining order against Young that sought the return of what she called a "very private and personal" video she made in 2006. She has also sued Young for invasion of privacy.
The original sex tape is in an Atlanta safety deposit box along with possibly two other copies, according to an affidavit filed by Young on Friday night. The judge has asked for all of the copies Young has.
Young also said another copy has been turned over to the FBI, which has been investigating the money that exchanged hands during Edwards' second White House campaign.
An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.
Young, who initially claimed to be the father of Hunter's baby, has written a tell-all book about how Edwards hid his mistress and child amid the 2008 White House campaign. The longtime aide wrote that he found a video in a "box of trash" Hunter had left behind at a home he rented in Chapel Hill.
The tape, Young says, shows Edwards in a sexual encounter with a pregnant woman that Young believes to be Hunter. Young's attorneys had argued that the tape Hunter was seeking appeared to be different from the one he has.
Young told reporters after the court hearing that he and his wife, Cheri, were happy to comply and supply the items. He has previously said that he kept the tape as security and proof of his story while declining large financial offers for the video.
"There's a reason nobody's ever seen the tape," Young said outside the courthouse. He also said in his affidavit that he would turn over campaign videos and photographs shot by Hunter.
Edwards, a former North Carolina senator and 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee, admitted for the first time last month that he fathered Hunter's child, now almost 2 years old. He and his wife are now separated.
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