Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 29, 2006
POLITICS/LAW: DC Circuit Punishes Unlawful Domestic Eavesdropping

The DC Circuit yesterday upheld an award of $10,000 in statutory damages, $50,000 in punitive damages, plus attorneys' fees against a government official who received and caused the publication of a telephone conversation obtained through illegal eavesdropping within the United States. (Via Bashman). The defendant in this long-running legal saga: Democratic Congressman James McDermott. The court found that it was undisputed that McDermott knew that the phone conversation was recorded illegally, a fact that he then conveyed to Adam Clymer of the New York Times, who ran the contents of the illegally tapped phone call on the front page of the Times on January 10, 1997. The plaintiff? None other than House Majority Leader John Boehner, whose cell phone was illegally intercepted when he joined a conference call with the then- House Republican leadership regarding an ethics complaint against Newt Gingrich.

Interestingly, Judge David Sentelle, who was relentlessly demonized by Democrats throughout the 1990s for his role in appointing Ken Starr, disssented, noting among other things that under the majority's reasoning, Rep. Boehner could also have sued the Times.

So, if you are keeping score at home, that would be one House Democrat to zero current Congressional or White House Republicans who have been found by a court of law to have participated in illegal domestic surveillance of political opponents.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:52 AM | Law 2006-08 • | Politics 2006 | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Not that it would stop them from doing it, anyway. (BTW, did you see about the testimony of several former FISA judges before Congress, who were apparently not very thrilled with the program as they understood it?)

Posted by: Devin McCullen at March 30, 2006 12:56 AM

I don't know if anyone was "thrilled', but they agreed that it was legal.

Posted by: abe at March 30, 2006 11:34 AM

I trust you will also be keeping us up to date on the New Hampshire Republican phone bank jamming scandal.

That's a rhetorical question.

Posted by: Francis P. Aspessi at April 3, 2006 7:18 AM
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