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February 14, 2019: Political Activist Charged with Illegal Wiretap of Congressional Staffer

Political Activist Charged with Illegal Wiretap of Congressional Staffer

State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt announced today that Jake Burdett, a college student at Salisbury University, was charged last week with illegally wiretapping a meeting with a Congressional Staffer for Congressman Andy Harris.

Burdett, 20 years old, an advocate for the group Maryland Marijuana Justice, participated in a rally in front of the Salisbury Office for Congressman Andy Harris in October of 2018. When a Congressional Staffer of Congressman Harris offered to meet with the group, Burdett and a few others agreed to meet with the Staffer in his office, which could only seat a few people. Noticing people on their phones, different members of Congressman Harris’s staff notified the group that they were not allowed to record in the office because of office policy. Burdett, however, recorded the entire meeting, streaming it on Facebook Live, without the consent of the Congressional Staffer who was conducting the meeting. Burdett is charged with the illegal recording of the Congressional Staffer and the illegal distribution of that recording.

“We need to ensure people are respecting boundaries set by Maryland’s wiretapping laws,” said State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt.

This matter was referred to the Office of the State Prosecutor by the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office. All individuals who are charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until there is a conviction.