Judge backs off jailing Young in sex tape case

Andrew Young (AP)
March 9, 2010 3:58:25 PM PST
A judge ordered Andrew Young jailed Tuesday until he produces a sex tape in the lawsuit filed against Young and his wife by John Edwards' mistress Rielle Hunter.

He then backed off that order and gave the former Edwards aide until 2 p.m. Friday to produce missing items or provide a reasonable explanation of why he can't find them.

The move came in a Pittsboro, NC courtroom.

Judge Abraham Jones is clearly losing patience with Young - saying it would be a tough decision to jail him, but he didn't want to be seen as a 'fool.' His tough talk came midway through a marathon 8 hour hearing.

"I've decided that I'm going to have to incarcerate you both until such time as that second tape is produced - up to 75 days," said Jones.

Jones later said he would not jail Cheri Young, and then finally announced he would jail Andrew Young right away either.

Hunter is suing for the return of the tape - purportedly depicting her and Edwards having sex - and other documents and images claiming an invasion of privacy.

Judge Jones ordered the Youngs to surrender all copies of the video to the court earlier this year while he decided ownership.

Young and his wife say they found the video in a house he rented for Hunter. Young's lawyers have argued that she gave up ownership of it by abandoning it and not trying to claim it for several years.

The existence of the tape came to light after Young's book "The Politician," hit the stands in February. In the book, Young documents his years working for Edwards and talks about his role hiding the existence of Edwards' affair with Hunter from the media while he ran for president.

Young says he's turned over the tape and all copies to the court as ordered.

Hunter's lawyers say Young has not complied with Judge Jones's contempt order - charging Young and his wife have not been honest with the court and may be hiding more copies of the video. They said in court filing that several items and documents are still missing or cannot be accounted for.

To back their argument, they handed up a new affidavit signed by Roger Draper who claims to have viewed the sex tape in March, 2009 in Andrew Young’s office. Hunter's lawyers say Young failed to disclose the viewing in previous affidavits and under oath.

Draper is a freelance journalist who works for several magazines including the New York Times Magazine, GQ and National Geographic.

Judge Jones said he believes there are some items that are still missing - specifically, a second tape.

Young lawyer Robert Elliot told the judge they can't produce something that doesn't exist.

They also said the Draper affidavit is a matter that should be hashed out during the lawsuit.

Young took the stand after the judge's order reiterating that he's handed over all items. He admited there are things that he's lost track of but nothing that he's withheld intentionally.

In addition to a possible second copy of the tape, Judge Jones wants Young and his lawyers to account for a computer flash drive that may have images on it.

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