HILLSBOROUGH — Superior Court Judge Carl Fox wants to make sure pre-trial testimony and evidence in the John Edwards sex-tape case dont find their way onto your television screen.
Fox ruled Thursday that depositions in Edwards mistress Rielle Hunters invasion-of-privacy suit against former campaign staffer Andrew Young must remain confidential, ordering attorneys in the case to keep video-taped interviews in their possession.
Once this is out, its out. Theres not a whole lot for me to do, said Fox. The next thing I know, someones sitting on the television in front of Barbara Walters or somebody like that.
While he backed off his initial inclination to prohibit Young or Hunter even from viewing the depositions themselves, Fox threatened the parties with jail time if either discusses information gained through the discovery process in a public forum.
If it should come to this courts attention that its being exploited for any reason in the media, I wont hesitate to use the courts contempt authority. Money is not a punishment here, so we would be talking about time, Fox said. This is not grist for the media mill.
Under Foxs order, the parties will have to designate what information is confidential and what they knew outside the discovery process. Youngs attorney Robert Elliot, whose client has already written a book revealing Edwards affair with Hunter, wanted to make sure Young would still be free to publicize what he knew prior to the court process.
People are talking about this case, Elliot said. We ask that everything having to do with the facts of this case be public.
Im not in favor of gag orders, Fox replied. But they talk about it at their peril. What they say could come back to haunt them.