HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — Former presidential candidate John Edwards claims that protection against self-incrimination in his campaign finance prosecution should allow him to delay testifying in a separate case involving a purported sex tape made with his mistress.
Edwards said in court filings in a North Carolina state court this week that a scheduled June 20 deposition should wait until after the federal criminal case against him concludes.
Edwards is entitled to the stay "in order to protect his constitutional rights to due process, a fair trial and against self-incrimination," the filing states.
Edwards is the star witness in a privacy lawsuit his mistress Rielle Hunter filed against former Edwards campaign aide Andrew Young. Hunter contends Young improperly took from her sensitive materials, including a reputed sex tape showing Edwards. She wants the items returned to her.
Young said Hunter left them behind after leaving a hideout they shared while covering up Edwards' affair during the 2008 presidential campaign. Hunter said in an affidavit that she created a private video in September 2006.
The filing says Young's attorneys want to question the former senator about the indictment and that Edwards' attorneys believe Young has agreed to cooperate with the government. It says they believe Young is an unnamed and unindicted co-conspirator in the case and will be a material witness.
"Thus, a material witness for the Government, who is under an obligation to cooperate with the Government, proposes to have his attorney examine Senator Edwards under oath about the subject matter of the Indictment," says the motion, which was filed Thursday.
Young's attorneys, Robert Elliot and David Pishko of Winston-Salem, didn't immediately respond to attempts to reach them for comment.
Edwards was charged last week with six federal counts also related to Hunter. The government accused him of improperly using campaign money to keep Hunter out of the public eye as he pursued the White House. The charges include conspiracy, taking illegal campaign contributions and making false statements.
Edwards has insisted he did not break the law.
Martha Waggoner can be reached at _ http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc