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Edwards' ex-mistress gets ownership of sex tape in settling lawsuit against aide

Davis Turner / Reuters file

Former U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful and former U.S. Senator John Edwards.

Updated at 6:54 p.m. ET: HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -- John Edwards' former mistress has settled a lawsuit and won ownership of a purported sex tape of the former presidential candidate during his bid for the White House.

Copies of the tape will be destroyed within 30 days, The Associated Press reported.

A spokesperson for Rielle Hunter told ABC11 the agreement returns the "disputed property" to Hunter and declared the settlement a victory.

"Ms. Hunter is very pleased. She won," RoseMarie Terenzio told WTVD-TV in Raleigh.

Hunter filed suit against a former Edwards aide, Andrew Young, in 2010 over ownership of several items, including a purported sex video that Hunter claimed she made in 2006 while working for Edwards.

Jim R. Bounds / AP file

Rielle Hunter and her child leave the Terry Sanford Federal Building and Courthouse in Raleigh, N.C

Hunter lived with the Youngs in 2007, while she was pregnant with Edwards' baby.

In a court settlement filed Thursday, the Youngs agreed to give up their claim on the property, which has been held in the vault of a North Carolina courthouse. The Youngs also agreed not to talk publicly about the tape or the other items, which include photos of Hunter with the child and a list of names titled "The Slut Club."

"We are extremely pleased to have this case resolved. There were no 'winners' as such, in that each side had returned back to it that which it believed was its own property, although it was mutually agreed that certain materials should, per the court's order, be destroyed," the Youngs said in a statement.

"It has been suggested that one purpose of this lawsuit was an effort to intimidate and harass Andrew and Cheri Young who are expected to be witnesses in the criminal prosecution of Ms. Hunter's paramour, John Edwards. If that was in fact the case, it has failed miserably," the statement said.

"Notably, notwithstanding the outlandish efforts of Ms. Hunter's legal counsel to try to paint Mr. and Mrs. Young as liars and thieves, nothing could be further from the truth -- as is unequivocally evidenced by this settlement agreement."

Andrew Young previously described the intimate tape in his tell-all book about how Edwards hid his mistress and child amid the 2008 White House campaign.

According to testimony in the lawsuit, the ribbon of tape had been pulled out of the cassette in an apparent attempt to destroy it. Andrew Young manually wound the tape back into the cassette so he couple play it in Hunter's video camera, which she had also left.

Young said he kept the tape as security and proof of his story while declining large financial offers for the video.

"There's a reason nobody's ever seen the tape," Young said in February 2010 outside a courthouse after a hearing.

The settlement does not address a pending contempt of court case against the Youngs and two of their attorneys for providing copies of items that had been under seal to federal officials investigating Edwards for campaign finance violations.

Edwards was indicted on six felony and misdemeanor counts last year related to nearly $1 million provided by two wealthy donors that was used to help hide his mistress from the public. Edwards served a single term in the U.S. Senate before becoming the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2004.

NBC News' Lisa Myers and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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