TOWSON, Md. — A Salisbury University student pleaded guilty to illegally wiretapping a meeting with a Congressional staffer.
Jake Burdett, a Maryland Marijuana Justice advocate, participated in a rally in front of Republican Congressman Andy Harris’ Salisbury office in October. A staffer of Harris’ office came out to speak to the group and offered to meet with their members. Burdett and a few others agreed to join the meeting in a location that could only fit a limited number of people. Other members of Harris’ staff told participants in the meeting to put away their phones, as recording in the office was against office policy.
Burdett did not disable his phone, instead recording the entire meeting and streaming it on Facebook Live without the consent of the staff member who conducted the proceeding, the prosecutor’s release said.
The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of illegally recording the congressman's staffer during a meeting. The State of Maryland and Burdett reached a pre-indictment plea agreement, in which he received a Probation Before Judgment and 100 hours of community service.
Maryland is one of a minority of states that adheres to “two-party consent” when recording phone calls, video chats, or in-person conversations. This means all parties participating in the dialogue have to knowingly agree to be recorded. Recording such conversations without full consent, and disseminating such information publicly, is illegal. Burdett was ultimately charged with illegal recording of the staff member and the illegal distribution of the recording.