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Maryland councilman enters Alford plea in wiretap case

A town councilman from Chesapeake Beach has entered an Alford plea to a charge that he violated the state's wiretap laws. By entering the Alford plea, he is not admitting guilt. Rather, he is acknowledging that the state has enough evidence to bring the charge. He was fined $2,500 and put on supervised probation for three years.

During a court hearing, the councilman said he used a "lack of judgment" when he recorded conversations on a cellphone app but didn't tell the person on the other end of the phone that they were being recorded.

In Maryland, you can't record a call without notifying the other person that a recording is taking place. "I had no criminal or malicious intent," said the councilman, who formerly worked as a police officer.

The prosecution said the case began last October when the Chesapeake Beach mayor reported to the Calvert County Sheriff's Office that the councilman had admitted to recording a conversation with the local library director.

Upon investigation, authorities found that he had recorded approximately 275 calls without notifying the person with whom he was speaking. Many of the calls apparently were not related to his work as a councilman.

Wiretapping is a serious offense in Maryland. It can carry a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Whether the man will continue as a town councilman has yet to be determined.

Sometimes, people act without considering the implications, and that can lead to trouble. If you find yourself in legal jeopardy, a consultation with an attorney could prove valuable.

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