Opposing lawyers in the John Edwards trial wrangled Friday with a judge over whether to allow testimony about a sex tape of the former presidential candidate.
Edwards is accused of directing a conspiracy to use about $1 million in campaign donors' payments to help hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. He denies knowing about the money and has pleaded not guilty.
Andrew Young, Edwards' former aide and confidante, testified this week that he deposited the payments from a wealthy Texas lawyer who served as Edwards' campaign finance chairman and an elderly heiress into personal accounts controlled by him and his wife. The money was used to help build a $1.5 million North Carolina home for Young and his wife.
Young, who is testifying under an immunity agreement, said he did not pay income taxes on the money.
Prosecutors objected Friday when a defense lawyer for Edwards asked Young whether he had threatened to release a "private video" to expose Edwards' affair with Rielle Hunter.
U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles instructed Edwards lawyer Abbe Lowell to continue his cross-examination of Young without mentioning the tape.
After conferring with the judge, Lowell said he would wait to potentially discuss the tape when the defense presents its case.
Hunter sued Young in state court two years ago over ownership of the sex tape and other personal items in Young's possession. That suit was settled earlier this year with an agreement to destroy all copies of the tape, though there are suggestions in court documents that federal investigators may still have a copy.
Defense attorneys had no intention of showing the tape to the jury but wanted to mention it in the context of the allegation that Young threatened to reveal Edwards' affair during an August 2008 conversation.
Hunter is expected to testify later in the trial, also with an immunity agreement.