COMMENTARY | Normally, I would say a video tape of sex between two consenting adults is something that should be kept private. That the public has neither the legal right to view such a thing without the consent of both parties or even have the tape be part of the discussion in sworn testimony. Given that the stars of the tape -- former presidential candidate John Edwards and his mistress Rielle Hunter have children -- normally that would make my convictions on such matters even stronger. But, according to Good Morning America, the judge in Edwards' trial has decided talk of the tape, though not the tape itself, will be allowed in court. And I agree with her.
The courtroom testimony involved whether Andrew Young, a key prosecution witness and former Edwards aide, felt threatened during a car-ride conversation in 2008. Edwards is accused of using campaign donations to hide his affair with Hunter and the pregnancy that resulted from that affair. As the story that is the foundation of the prosecution goes, Young assisted Edwards in hiding Hunter and was in possession of a sex tape made of the two.
As the story goes, Young feared for his life. He stated he hung onto various proofs of the affair. Make no mistake, Young was not an innocent player in this sad story. He admitted he used some of the money for family trips to places like Disneyland and Aspen, Colo. But in spite of his own shortcomings, Young's statement that he feared for his life, in combination with his collection of evidence should the story ever come to light, indicates how deep the endeavor went to conceal this affair.
An affair is a personal thing. It should be kept personal, along with all the emails and voice mails and text messages it generates. Even the sex tapes. But when one of the actors is attempting to cover it up with campaign donations, then it becomes a public matter. The public doesn't need to see the tape for themselves, but the details of it are part of a story that forms the basis for the accusation. And because of that, at least part of those details must be given.