Politics & Government

Judge moves to keep John Edwards sex tape evidence under wraps

HILLSBOROUGH — Superior Court Judge Carl Fox wants to make sure pretrial testimony and evidence in the John Edwards sex-tape case don't find their way onto your television screen.

Fox ruled Thursday that depositions in Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter's invasion-of-privacy suit against former campaign aide Andrew Young must remain confidential. He ordered lawyers in the case to keep videotaped interviews in their possession.

"Once this is out, it's out. There's not a whole lot for me to do," said Fox. "The next thing I know, someone's sitting on the television in front of Barbara Walters or somebody like that."

Included in Fox's order is a future deposition of Edwards himself, who is not a party in the case but who has been subpoenaed as a witness.

"Sen. Edwards hasn't given any interviews about this, and his videotaped depositions ... would have a great deal of commercial value to Mr. Young," said Edwards lawyer Jim Cooney.

Edwards' affair with his campaign videographer has already wrecked his marriage and political career. Young wrote about it in his book "The Politician"; he and Hunter have appeared separately on "The Oprah Winfrey Show"; and she posed for a GQ cover story.

But the sex tape itself, which Young says he found in garbage Hunter left at his house, remains under seal in the custody of the court. And Fox wants to keep additional information from leaking to the public.

Although the judge backed off his initial inclination to prohibit Young or Hunter from seeing the depositions, Fox threatened the parties with jail time if either publicizes information gained through the discovery process.

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