John Edwards couldn’t keep his mistress or the child they conceived from becoming public. His mistress has had better luck with a sex tape.
During the time he was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, the video reportedly shows a sexual encounter between Edwards and Rielle Hunter, a woman hired to film his campaign journey.
An agreement was filed in court Thursday that calls for the videotape and a copy to be destroyed. It also orders former Edwards campaign aide Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri, to return several items of Hunter’s property and bans the Youngs from disseminating the contents of that property.
Hunter sued Young after Young’s tell-all book published in February 2010 described the tape. The 21-page consent judgment and permanent injunction does carve out a notable exception to the disclosure injunction: items already sold by the Youngs as part of a movie deal based on the book.
Attorneys from both sides said that they were pleased with the outcome of the settlement and that their clients got what they were aiming to achieve.
“Ms. Hunter was demanding money up until very recently,” said Robert Elliot, the Youngs’ attorney. In a statement, he further criticized “outlandish efforts of Ms. Hunter’s legal counsel to try to paint Mr. and Mrs. Young as liars and thieves,” saying the book merely revealed a truth that Hunter and Edwards had lied about for two years.
Hunter also sought other items of her property, including several other videos she had made, photographs, and documents ranging from medical records to a list of names titled “The Slut Club.”
Young’s book, “The Politician,” documented his experience as a campaign aide for Edwards, including his role in keeping Edwards’ and Hunter’s relationship a secret. Those efforts included Young falsely claiming to be the father of Hunter’s baby, born in 2008. Hunter and the Youngs lived in the same Santa Barbara House, provided by Edwards, during his White House run.
Young had said he found the property inside a box of trash Hunter had left behind. He claimed the videotape ribbon was pulled out but that he was able to fix it.
‘Slut Club’ rights sold
Information about the sex tape and the list known as “The Slut Club,” as described in “The Politician,” were specifically exempted from the non-publication order. The Youngs had sold the rights to the tape to Aaron Sorkin of Colvin Road Entertainment as part of movie deal for Young’s story and book, according to the agreement, and Elliot said that anything said in the book is fair game.
However, in the agreement filed Thursday, Hunter explicitly retained the right to take the Youngs to court again with regard to the movie if more information stemming from the property returned to her is publicized.
“Ms. Hunter is very much pleased by the result. She has accomplished the purpose she was trying to accomplish from the outset,” Hunter’s attorney Alan Duncan said.
Edwards was indicted on six felony and misdemeanor counts last year, accused of using $1 million from two wealthy donors to conceal Hunter. As details from Young’s book emerged, Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, separated from him. She died in December 2010 from breast cancer.
Edwards was a one-term senator for North Carolina and John Kerry’s vice presidential running mate in 2004.