Edwards asks judge to halt destruction of ex-mistress’s belongings

John Edwards is asking a federal court to prevent the destruction of items returned to his former mistress. 

A little more than a month ahead of the start of his trial for alleged campaign finance violations, Edwards asked a judge to issue a stay in a settlement where personal property was returned to Rielle Hunter. 

The stay doesn't cover a sex tape made by Edwards and Hunter. A judge has exempted that tape from any stay and has said all copies of the recording must be destroyed within 30 days of last week's settlement, WRAL reported on Monday. 

Superior Court Judge Carl R. Fox offered Edwards the ability to request that the destruction of any of Hunter's property, except the sex tape, be delayed.

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The former Democratic presidential candidate and North Carolina senator is asking a judge to issue a stay "with respect to any transfer or destruction of items" under a settlement reached last week between Hunter and Edward's former aide, Andrew Young.

Under the agreement, Hunter would recover personal items she said Young and his wife took from her, including the video with Edwards.

Young had said Hunter had left the items in a box of trash at his house, where she lived briefly while pregnant in 2007. The items had been kept in a courthouse vault while a deal was worked out.

After news broke about Hunter having a baby, the married Young signed an affidavit falsely saying he was the father.

Edwards has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of using campaign money — about $925,000 from two donors — to cover up his affair and his baby with Hunter. He admitted to the affair after his unsuccessful run for president in 2008.

The indictment contained six felony counts, including conspiracy, four counts of receiving illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements for keeping the spending off the campaign's public finance reports.

Prosecutors have argued that the spending was illegal because it exceeded the $2,300 individual limit for campaign contributions and that he should have reported it on public campaign finance filings.

Edwards has argued that he didn't know about the contributions and didn't break the law.

His trial begins next month — opening statements are set for April 23 — and is expected to last about six weeks.

The 58-year-old Edwards was granted a delay in January because of a heart condition that has been stabilized. 

— This story was originally posted on March 3, and was updated on March 5 after WRAL corrected its report.

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