Sex tape of John Edwards, mistress to be destroyed

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The purported sex tape of former presidential candidate John Edwards and his mistress will be destroyed within 30 days after a lawsuit over who owned the tape was settled Thursday.

Rielle Hunter sued former Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife in 2010 over the tape and other personal items the couple said she left in a box of trash while they were helping her hide out as the former North Carolina senator ran for the White House. Hunter lived with the Youngs while she was pregnant with Edwards’ baby, and Young initially said he was the father.

In the settlement, the Youngs agreed to give up their claim on the tape and other property, which has been held in the vault of a North Carolina courthouse. Hunter has long wanted the tapes destroyed.

“We are very pleased that this settlement achieved all that she had ever hoped to achieve with this lawsuit,” said Allison Van Laningham, one of Hunter’s lawyers.

A lawyer for the Youngs said they were pleased with the settlement.

“There were no ‘winners’ as such, in that each side had returned back to it that which it believed was its own property, although it was mutually agreed that certain materials should, per the court’s order, be destroyed,” lawyer David Pishko said.

The Youngs also agreed not to talk publicly about the tape or the other items, which include photos of Hunter in a bikini as well as picture of her with her child, Frances Quinn Hunter. She turns 4 years old on Monday.

The tape shows Edwards in a sexual encounter with a pregnant Hunter, who filmed the tape.

Hunter was hired as a videographer by Edwards’ political action committee in 2006. After she became pregnant, Andrew Young claimed paternity of the unborn baby and resigned from the campaign. Hunter then moved in with the Youngs at their home near Chapel Hill.

After tabloids suspected Edwards was having an affair and photographers staked out the neighborhood, Hunter and the Youngs fled, staying in luxury homes and hotels and traveling in private jets while Edwards continued on the campaign trail.

Prosecutors have accused Edwards of using nearly $1 million from two wealthy campaign donors to pay for Hunter’s care and travel while she was pregnant. He was indicted in June on six felony and misdemeanor campaign finance charges. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is on hold because he needs treatment for a heart condition.

Edwards dropped his White House bid in early 2008 as the sex scandal engulfed his campaign. He admitted the affair with Hunter but denied fathering her child. Only months later did he acknowledge the baby was his.

Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth Edwards, separated from her husband and died in December 2010 with her husband reportedly at her side. Andrew Young is expected to be a star witness for prosecutors at Edwards’ upcoming criminal trial.

Young’s lawyer said nothing in the agreement will prevent him from taking the witness stand.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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