Trial over ownership of Edwards sex tape delayed

AP News
|
Posted: Aug 30, 2011 6:39 PM
Trial over ownership of Edwards sex tape delayed

A judge agreed Tuesday to delay the civil trial over who owns a purported sex tape of John Edwards because of the former presidential candidate's pending criminal case.

Edwards' former mistress Rielle Hunter sued Edwards' ex-aide Andrew Young in 2010 over ownership of several items, including an intimate video made by Hunter now being kept under seal in a courthouse safe.

Edwards was indicted in June on felony charges of violating federal campaign finance laws by using more than $1 million provided by donors to help hide his pregnant mistress during his presidential campaign. Young's lawyers requested a delay in the civil case until the conclusion of Edwards' criminal trial.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox issued an order delaying the civil trial until March 26.

The trial in the federal criminal case against Edwards is expected to begin in October.

Last week Edwards' legal team filed a motion in federal court asking for a delay in that trial, arguing that they needed more time to review the more than 400,000 documents and 12 hours of video tape gathered as part of the federal investigation.

The defense also said the complex nature of the case and the prosecution's "novel" application of campaign finance law make the looming start date for the trial "unreasonable."

Prosecutors disagreed in a filing Monday, saying that the defendant's characterization of the case as complex or novel does not justify further delays.

Edwards' defenders have painted the cash and checks provided to support Hunter and Young, who initially claimed paternity of the candidate's love child, as gifts from friends rather than campaign contributions.

In their June 3 indictment, prosecutors countered with a note from Edwards' patron Bunny Mellon saying that the $725,000 she provided was intended to cover his expenses "without government restrictions." The 101-year-old socialite had already provided Edwards' presidential campaign with the maximum allowable federal contribution.