Andrew Young is free … for now

From staff reportsMarch 9, 2010 

A judge threatened to send Andrew Young to jail three times today, but in the end didn't follow through on it.

Instead, Young and his wife, Cheri, are due in court again Friday afternoon for the continuation of a hearing that dragged on for hours today.

Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones first said he was ready to send the Youngs to jail for up to 75 days for contempt of court. The judge said the couple had failed to be truthful about the number of copies made of a sex tape of former Sen. John Edwards and his mistress and about how many people have seen it, Michael Biesecker reports.

It was the fourth hearing Jones has held on the tape, and with each one the Youngs produced more material and more affidavits.

After he announced his decision, Andrew Young asked for a chance to explain himself. Jones allowed the former Edwards aide to take the witness stand. The questioning went on for some time, until finally the judge recessed the hearing and the Youngs walked free from the courtroom instead of being hauled off to jail.

Andrew Young previously said that he showed the sex tape to a producer for ABC and two book agents. After that, attorneys for Rielle Hunter, Edwards' mistress who Young says also appeared in the video, produced an affidavit from a ghost writer who previously worked for Edwards, Robert Draper of New York.

Draper swore in the document that on March 31, 2009 he and Young met at the Youngs' house. After Cheri Young had gone to bed, Andrew Young offered to show Draper the sex tape and played it on a big screen television in his office from his laptop, which suggested there was a digital copy stored on the laptop.

Young has turned over the original tape and a VHS copy. Federal agents have a DVD copy, but Young has sworn that other copies do not exist. He also did not disclose that he had shown it to Draper.

When the affidavit was brought up in court, Jones asked one of Hunter's lawyers, Alan Duncan: "Are you saying he lied to me?"

"Yes, your honor."

"That's a painful thing," Jones said.

"There were things told to the court," Jones said from the bench, "under oath, in affidavits, in testimony that turned out to be inaccurate. Right now part of me says they didn't tell me the truth before in this court."

In past hearings, Jones told the Youngs that if he found they were not adhering to his orders, he would send them to jail for up to 75 days.

Young's lawyers tried to downplay the discrepancy as a memory lapse, one of many Young has suffered throughout the course of the hearings.

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