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Judge rules John Edwards must be deposed again in sex-tape lawsuit

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: John Edwards must answer more questions on June 20, a judge rules Friday
  • Rielle Hunter, John Edwards' ex-mistress, is suing one of the politician's former top aides
  • The aide's lawyers have pushed for Edwards to be deposed again, but he has resisted
  • Potential key evidence in the case is an alleged sex tape with Hunter and Edwards

(CNN) -- A North Carolina judge ruled Friday that one-time presidential candidate John Edwards must testify more in a lawsuit pitting his former mistress against a top Edwards aide, lawyers said.

Edwards has given a deposition in the lawsuit of Rielle Hunter, with whom he fathered a child, against Andrew Young, a key figure in the politician's 2008 presidential campaign. Hunter is suing Young to reclaim materials that she says belong to her, including an alleged sex tape that involves Edwards.

Superior Court Judge Carl Fox announced Friday that he'll preside over Edwards' further deposition, according to Amanda Martin, who was part of a media group's team of lawyers in the Raleigh, North Carolina, court Friday. The media group has been pushing for the release of documents related to the case.

The deposition will take place on June 20, Fox said during Friday's two-hour hearing that also included lawyers for Young, Hunter and Edwards. Within two weeks after the transcript is finished and distributed, Judge Fox will consider arguments and decide whether to release all, part or none of Edwards' deposition, according to Martin.

The group of media companies, which include CNN, scored at least a partial victory Friday when Fox authorized the release of two documents in the case.

That includes the unsealing of one motion, filed on March 7 by Edwards' attorney James Cooney, urging the judge to bar any further deposition of his client. The lawyer wrote, "Further examination is being conducted either in bad faith or in such manner as to unreasonably annoy, embarrass or oppress (Edwards)."

The other motion was from Young's legal team, which includes Robert Elliot, David Pishko and Allison Maddux. The lawyers claimed that Edwards "failed and refused to respond adequately to questions asked of him during his February 8, 2011 deposition."

Edwards' attorney did not immediately return a call asking for his client's opinion on Friday's developments. Messages left for the attorney for Andrew Young, as well as court officials in North Carolina, were not immediately returned.

The group of media companies wants more information on the case to be released by the North Carolina court. The group's attorneys argue that many such details already have been made public by various parties, and therefore the motions and depositions so far should be public records as called for under North Carolina law.

The media group's motions do not call for the release of the alleged sex tape or any intimate photos that might exist.

During Friday's hearing, Young's lawyers gave no indication they intended to brand any depositions or similar documents as confidential. Edwards' attorney did not detail what, if anything, his client might want kept sealed, Martin said. Lawyers for Hunter, meanwhile, said they were talking about "a small amount that (they) were considering designating as confidential," according to Martin.

This legal wrangling all centers around Edwards, once a U.S. Senator from North Carolina and the Democratic party's 2004 vice presidential nominee. After losing that race with running mate John Kerry, Edwards -- with his now-deceased wife Elizabeth by his side -- announced that he was running for president in 2008.

Yet Edwards' bid floundered, and he soon became embroiled in a scandal after published reports said he had been having an affair with Hunter.

Young initially claimed to be the father of Hunter's child, ostensibly in order to protect his former boss, only to later publish a tell-all book.

Edwards eventually did acknowledge his paternity of the child. His last public appearance was at the funeral for his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, who died last December after a six-year battle with cancer.

Edwards also is under investigation about whether or not he illegally used campaign funds to cover up his affair with Hunter, a campaign videographer.

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.