The ex-mistress of two-time presidential candidate John Edwards wants a “very private and personal” videotape back from a campaign aide who wrote a book about the politician, according to court documents.
Rielle Hunter was granted a temporary restraining order against former Edwards loyalist Andrew Young in a North Carolina court. It seeks the return of photos and videos, including one she says she made in 2006 while working for Edwards.
“In or about September 2006, using my video camera, I authored a personal video recording that depicted matters of a very private and personal nature,” Hunter wrote in an affidavit filed Thursday. “In 2006, I was also having an intimate relationship with Edwards.”
“The decision was made that the Video be destroyed” in December 2006, Hunter wrote. She said she pulled out the tape from the cassette and stored it in a box with personal belongings.
In his book, Young describes viewing a sex tape that showed Edwards and a woman he assumed was Hunter. Young says some videotapes were inside a “box of trash” that Hunter left behind at a home he rented for her. He says that the tape had been pulled out of its cassette casing, but that he was able to fix it.
It’s not entirely clear whether it’s the same tape that Hunter is seeking; Young said in his book that the naked woman depicted in the video was pregnant. Hunter had her child with Edwards in 2008, more than a year after she says her “private” video was made.
The Web site of ABC News was first to report on Hunter’s bid for a restraining order Thursday. The network has several interviews with Young scheduled to air in the coming days as he promotes “The Politician,” which is set to go on sale Saturday.
Attorneys for Edwards said in a statement Friday that they have not had an opportunity to read the book but urged “extreme caution” about it. The lawyers, Wade Smith and James Cooney III, said it’s obvious from media reports that “there are many allegations which are simply false.”
“It appears that Andrew Young is primarily motivated by financial gain and media attention,” they said.
Edwards only recently admitted paternity of Hunter’s daughter, who is now nearly 2. He and wife, Elizabeth, are now separated.
Deputies in Orange County said in court documents filed Friday that they went to Young’s home to try and recover the tapes and personal photographs of Hunter. After some discussion, Young’s attorney told authorities that he could not immediately turn over the tape.
Along with winning the restraining order, Hunter has filed a lawsuit against Young and his wife, seeking a jury trial and damages for invasion of privacy. Young’s attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Young’s book is a cringe-inducing chronicle of Edwards’ affair, the lengths he went to cover it up and the marital mess it brought. But it also includes a detailed discussion of hundreds of thousands of dollars that changed hands privately, money that was used to hide Hunter from the press and Elizabeth Edwards.
The former Edwards confidant says federal prosecutors in North Carolina questioned him for hours about money. However, he says he believed many of the gifts were proper and outside the scope of campaign law. A lawyer for Edwards, in a statement sent Friday to The Associated Press, seemed to agree.
“We are confident that Senator Edwards neither violated campaign laws nor asked anyone to do so,” Cooney said.
Edwards’ political action committee paid Hunter’s production company $100,000 in 2006 for her to work as a videographer following the candidate as he prepared for his second quest for the White House. Months afterward, in April 2007, the PAC received $14,000 from Edwards’ presidential campaign and then paid a similar amount to Hunter’s production company.