Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' former mistress, won a long-running legal battle Thursday over a sexually explicit tape that she filmed with Edwards at the time of his 2008 campaign for president. The settlement demands that the sex tape be destroyed within 30 days and other personal items must be returned to Hunter.
The legal battle first began when Hunter filed a lawsuit against Edwards' former aide Andrew Young and his wife, Cheri, more than two years ago over stolen personal items. Hunter lived with the couple in 2007 while she was pregnant with Edwards' child. Young initially claimed he was the father of Hunter's child, Frances Quinn Hunter, but later denied the claim, stating he knew all along that she was Edwards' child.
While Hunter lived with the family, she claimed that the Youngs entered her former rental home and stole a sex tape she had filmed with Edwards from a hat-box containing her personal items, ABC News reports. Young claimed this was not the case, saying instead, he found the tape discarded in a trash in their home.
According to ABC News, Hunter believed the Youngs were using the sex tape publicity to help promote Young's book, The Politician, which discussed intimate details of the Edwards campaign and his affair with Hunter. Hunter has long wanted the sex tape to be destroyed and it has been held in a North Carolina courthouse vault. Although the details of Edwards' extramarital affair with Hunter remain uncertain, Edwards has confirmed that the pair did have an extramarital affair in 2006.
We are extremely pleased to have this case resolved, Youngs' attorney David Pishko told the LA Times. 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.
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Any future copies found of the tape will be destroyed as well. In the settlement, Hunter also won back ownership of a number of personal items, including a picture of her wearing a bikini, intimate pictures of Hunter and her child with Edwards, and an additional tape of their daughter's birth. The girl, Frances Quinn Hunter, will be 4 on Monday.
We are very pleased that this settlement achieved all that she had ever hoped to achieve with this lawsuit, Allison Van Laningham, one of Hunter's lawyers, told the LA Times.
The settlement also stipulates that the Youngs are forbidden to discuss the tape or personal items found.
In addition to the sex tape settlement, a court case is pending against the Youngs and two of their attorneys for assisting a federal investigation of Edwards for campaign finance violations. The Daily Mail reports that the Youngs allegedly provided copies of paperwork that were under seal to federal officials.
Edwards was indicted last year on six felony and misdemeanor counts for accepting nearly $1 million from wealthy donors meant to be used towards hiding his mistress, daughter and the sexual affair from the public. Edwards' trial has been rescheduled to Mar. 26, 2012 as the former Senator first needs treatment for a pressing heart condition.