Student charged for wiretapping Rep. Andy Harris’ office for Facebook Live stream

Student and marijuana activist charged with two felony counts for recording meeting without permission

A Maryland college student has been charged for wiretapping for Facebook Live streaming a meeting with a staffer for Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A student and marijuana advocate from Salisbury University in Maryland has been charged for wiretapping Rep. Andy Harris’ office after he allegedly streamed a meeting on Facebook Live with one of Harris’ staffers without permission.

Jake Burdett, 20, was charged last week in state court and faces two felony counts for making and distributing a video of a Maryland Marijuana Justice rally at Harris’ district office in October, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Burdett is expected to plead guilty to one count of illegally taping and broadcasting the meeting, his attorney told the Sun.

Burdett told the Sun in an email that he was initially unaware that streaming the meeting, which took place in a taxpayer-funded office space with legislative branch workers, was illegal.

When he found out that it was, he deleted the video from his Facebook account.

But Harris’ office apparently did not want to let the matter go unreported. One of the Maryland Republican’s staffers who noticed the marijuana activists at the meeting using their phones had told them that they did not have permission to record the conversation.

“We need to ensure people are respecting boundaries set by Maryland’s wiretapping laws,” state prosecutor Emmet Davitt said in a news release.

Burdett and the state are expected to reach an agreement for Burdett to receive community service and probation for the count to which he will plead guilty.

The conviction will be wiped from Burdett’s record in three years if he complies with the agreement, the Sun reported.

“It saddens me that Rep. Harris has decided to needlessly drop the hammer to make an example out of me over a mistake I quickly corrected and apologized for,” Burdett said in his email to the Sun.

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