Judge won't lock Andrew Young up for contempt

Former aide to John Edwards, Andrew Young, left waits at the Chatham County courtroom in Pittsboro, N.C., Friday, Feb. 5, 2010 for a hearing over over a "private" videotape authored by the candidate's mistress. (Jim R. Bounds)
March 12, 2010 3:16:37 PM PST
Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones did not order former John Edwards aide Andrew Young and his wife Cheri jailed Friday for contempt of court.

Attorneys for Rielle Hunter say the Youngs have held back copies of a tape that purportedly shows Hunter and Edwards having sex.

The Youngs say they found the video in a house he rented for Hunter. The 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.

Hunter has sued the Youngs for invasion of privacy and demanded the tape back. The Youngs were ordered to turn over all copies of the tape and other material to the court while it determines ownership.

Andrew Young admitted there are some missing items he can't account for, but says he has given the court everything it has requested.

In court Friday, Judge Jones said he was deeply disturbed by discrepancies in testimony before him, but he said he couldn't prove the Youngs were lying about not turning over all copies of the tape.

"You know and God knows, but I don't know," said Jones.

Jones said he had the power to jail the Youngs for 75 days, but he said he would only do that based on hard evidence which he did not have. He said he was still considering whether to forward the case to the prosecutor's office for a possible perjury case.

As he announced his decision, Jones told the Youngs he was not pleased with the way the case was unfolding and said if future evidence comes to light showing they were holding back material, he won't hesitate to jail them.

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