Fox News Gets John Edwards Filing Wrong

Update 8:00 pm: Good for Mediaite -- It has updated with WRAL's correction. I've removed them from the headline of my post. Fox has yet to correct its headline. And now the Washington Post runs with the inaccurate story and speculates there must be something on the tape that helps his defense. How about reading the pleadings that set out his defense instead of writing things like "His defense strategy seems to be... " This is journalism?

Original Post: Fox News has an article today with the headline"John Edwards asks judge not to destroy sex tape." The article begins with:

John Edwards has asked a judge not to destroy a sex tape he made with his former mistress Rielle Hunter that was slated for destruction under a settlement reached last week, WRAL-TV reported.

Fox did no checking.[More...]

Either did Mediaite, which also inaccurately reported "John Edwards Asks Judge Not To Destroy His Sex Tape With Rielle Hunter." Mediaite even sent out a tweet which has already been retweeted numerous times. A quick check of filings on PACER shows this is false. WRAL has since corrected its article.

Editor's Note: WRAL News initially interpreted court documents incorrectly and reported that John Edwards asked for a delay in the court-ordered destruction of a sex tape he made with Rielle Hunter. In the order returning the tape and other items to Hunter, Judge Carl R. Fox allowed Edwards or other parties to delay that destruction, but specifically exempted the tape from any stay.

John Edwards did not ask any court to delay destruction of the "sex tape" depicting him and Rielle Hunter.

On February 23, 2102, the judge in the North Carolina state court lawsuit between Rielle Hunter and Andrew and Cheri Young over numerous items of property, including the sex tape, entered a 19 page settlement order agreed to by Hunter and the Youngs (23 pages with signatures.) It provided for the destruction of some items and division of others. In addition to the sex tape, there were numerous other tapes and photographs, including ones of of all the children of those involved, Hunter's medical records, copies of computer hard drives, etc.

Paragraph 23 (available here with my underlining) of the state court's settlement order specifically says the order is stayed for 10 days except as to the sex tape.

The court, obviously recognizing that the sex tape would not be relevant in Edwards' federal court case, but also that it was not in a position to know whether any of the other items it ordered destroyed might be viewed as relevant by either Edwards or the Government, directed in Paragraph 23 that the settlement order be filed in Edwards' federal criminal case so Edwards or the Government could make requests for items ordered destroyed, and that if they made requests, an automatic stay of the destruction order would enter -- except as to the sex tape which was excluded.

Edwards then filed a notice in federal court and in state court of his intent to request certain materials covered by the State Court’s Consent Judgment and invoking the automatic stay "set forth in Paragraph 23.... with respect to any transfer or destruction of items...until a specific request can be submitted and resolved."

Mediaite's article, still up at 4:35 pm MT, reads:

The fabled sex tape between former Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards and his lover Rielle Hunter has finally returned to Hunter’s possession, where it was slated to be destroyed. Edwards’ attorney, however, has asked a judge to intervene and save the tape, requesting an injunction on the matter.

From the actual documents, available on PACER, it's not hard to figure out that Edwards was not asking for a delay of the destruction of the sex tape. The reporter for WRAL made a mistake in reading them. But what's Fox and Mediaite's excuse? How long will they leave their sloppy reporting up?

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    um, jeralyn? you do realize this is FOX (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 01:27:01 PM EST
    you're talking about, don't you? the question pretty much answers itself. as for the others, your quaint idea of "journalism" died 30 years ago.