A former aide and a former mistress of one-time presidential candidate John Edwards have settled a civil lawsuit between them that, among other measures, mandates the imminent destruction of sex tapes featuring Edwards and the woman
Orange County, North Carolina, Superior Court Judge Carl Fox on Thursday signed the settlement agreement between Andrew Young, his wife and Rielle Hunter, the woman who had sued the couple, according to court official Tammy Keshler.
Hunter had sued Young and his wife, Cheri, for invasion of privacy seeking to reclaim materials that she said belong to her, including personal photographs and an alleged sex tape showing her with Edwards.
While the settlement addresses the transfer and destruction of videos, photographs and other documents, no monetary damages were awarded and the Youngs admit no liability.
The court clerk will destroy the sex tape, while the Youngs must make a good-faith effort to ensure that the copy of the video that they gave to the U.S. government is likewise destroyed, per the agreement.
The former aide and his wife will get back family videos and photos, though they cannot use any that include Hunter or her daughter — whom Edwards has admitted he fathered — for anything besides family purposes.
Edwards’ fall: From golden boy to tabloid tale
Young wrote a book, “The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down,” in which he describes an elaborate plan to use money from two wealthy benefactors to allow Edwards to maintain a relationship with Hunter. She worked as a videographer on the failed 2008 presidential campaign of the former North Carolina senator, who was also the Democrats’ 2004 vice presidential nominee with running mate John Kerry.
Plans are under way to make that book, “The Politician,” into a movie from Aaron Sorkin and Colvin Road Entertainment.
The Youngs can use information already in the book, in court proceedings or otherwise in the public domain. But anything beyond that is prohibited by court order, and the couple cannot publicize the planned film.
A gag order prohibits either of the parties from discussing the settlement.
The agreement does not resolve the pending criminal contempt proceedings against Young and his wife.
Young’s former boss, Edwards, is scheduled to be on trial himself after being indicted last year on charges including conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws regarding donations to and payments from his presidential campaign.
Edwards’ pending criminal trial
Edwards denies any wrongdoing.
Whether the money given to support Hunter by Edwards’ benefactors — as alleged by Young in his book — should have been considered campaign donations is a key issue in Edwards’ upcoming trial. The ex-senator’s legal team has disputed that notion, maintaining the money was a gift to Hunter.
If convicted on all counts, Edwards could face 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1.5 million.