HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – A judge in the legal battle over a purported sex tape involving John Edwards demanded Thursday that any deposition of the two-time presidential candidate be kept private.
Judge Carl Fox said he didn't want the details of such testimony to be discussed or released publicly, warning attorneys for both sides that there could be repercussions if the material is talked about outside of the case.
"I won't hesitate to use the contempt authority of this court," Fox said. "I don't want anyone to think this court is joking."
Attorneys for former Edwards aide Andrew Young have been trying to depose the former North Carolina senator for months. They want to ask him questions about a sex tape that Young has said involves Edwards.
Fox denied a request by a Edwards attorney Jim Cooney to limit the scope of the questioning. Cooney also failed to persuade the judge to prohibit Young from having the chance to view the deposition.
"I have an extreme amount of concern, given the fact that his clients have essentially built a commercial enterprise on things that Sen. Edwards has said," Cooney said. "Having access to this, once the bell has been rung, we can't un-ring it."
Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter is suing to reclaim materials, including the video, saying they were taken from a box of her personal belongings. Young, who has said he helped keep Hunter in hiding during the 2008 presidential campaign and later wrote a book about the experience, contends the tape was found amid trash that Hunter left behind in a home that he was renting.
Hunter worked for Edwards' political action committee in 2006, shooting behind-the-scenes video as the Democrat prepared to launch his second White House campaign. Edwards acknowledged earlier this year that he fathered a child with Hunter. He and Elizabeth Edwards have separated after more than 30 years of marriage.
Young, Hunter and Edwards were not at the hearing.