Video: Contempt of court charges in sex tape case

updated 2/5/2010 1:22:27 PM ET 2010-02-05T18:22:27

A judge declared Friday that a former aide to John Edwards was in contempt of court, demanding that he turn over a "personal" videotape being sought by Edwards' former mistress.

Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones reprimanded Andrew Young in a court hearing Friday but declined to put him in custody. The contempt ruling will be lifted if Young turns over a videotape "of a personal nature" and other items by Wednesday, Jones said.

"These items are to be produced and turned over to the court," Jones said. "The court will put them under lock and key — and under seal — until the lawsuit is resolved."

Edwards' former mistress, Rielle Hunter, had won a temporary restraining order against Young that sought the return of what she called a private video she made in 2006, but when deputies went to retrieve the item, Young's attorney declined to release it. Young has said he has a copy of a video showing Edwards in a sexual encounter with a woman he believed to be Hunter.

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Hunter has also filed a lawsuit accusing Young of invasion of privacy.

Young's attorneys had disputed whether he even had the tape in question. They contended that the woman in the video was pregnant, but Hunter had written in an affidavit that the tape was made in 2006, some 17 months before her child with Edwards was born.

It's not clear whether the discrepancy was resolved Friday. Jones held private discussions with attorneys before coming into open court to issue his decision.

In his recently released tell-all book about the affair between Edwards and Hunter, Young says he found the tape in a "box of trash" Hunter had left behind at a home he rented in Chapel Hill. He writes that the tape had been pulled out of its cassette casing, but that he was able to fix it.

Hunter wrote in an affidavit that she created a private video in September 2006.

"In or about December 2006, the decision was made that the Video should be destroyed," she wrote. She said she pulled out the tape from the cassette and stored it in a box with personal belongings.

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