The Washington Post

Why John Edwards wants sex tape saved

John Edwards (Gerry Broome/AP)

Assuming it’s not for sentiment’s sake, it must have something to do with the campaign finance case against Edwards, who goes on trial next month.

He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges he illegally used political contributions to cover up his affair with Hunter during his 2008 presidential run.

His defense strategy seems to be that he was hiding the relationship from his wife, Elizabeth, which would have been legal, but that he was not using the money on a coverup to keep his campaign afloat, which would have been against the law.

So is there some conversation on the tape, then, that addresses the key issue of what Elizabeth knew and when she knew it?

The answer is sure to be complicated, because Elizabeth was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer at the time and seems to have acknowledged the situation in stages. And, given past statements by both Hunter and Edwards, there’s no guarantee, of course, that anything said on the tape is accurate.

It was to have been destroyed following the resolution of Hunter’s suit against former Edwards aide Andrew Young, who originally claimed paternity of the child Edwards had with Hunter.

It was Young who first made known the existence of the tape, claiming he was outraged by the the situation he had helped facilitate. He said Hunter, who lived with Young and his family when she was pregnant, had shocked him by leaving it behind in a box of trash.

Melinda Henneberger is a Washington Post political writer and anchors ‘She the People.’ Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC.

Melinda Henneberger has been writing about politics and culture for the Washington Post since 2011.



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