The videotaping at the ACORN offices may have violated state criminal statutes.
Baltimore state's attorney: Maryland law requires "two-party consent" to record audio. Maryland law provides that, subject to several exceptions, "it is unlawful for any person to ... [w]ilfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication." The website of Baltimore radio station WBAL has published audio of Pat Jessamy, the state's attorney for the city of Baltimore, stating with regard to the tape of ACORN employees at the group's Baltimore office, "Maryland is a two-party consent state, which means that if you record someone orally ... without the permission of all parties, then the interception of that is a crime" and that if the tape was illegally obtained, "the use of it ... is also a crime." According to a post on WBAL's website, in a written statement, Jessamy said:
The audio portion could possibly have been obtained in violation of Maryland Law, Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §10-402, which requires two party consent.
If it is determined that the audio portion now being heard on YouTube was illegally obtained, it is also illegal under Maryland Law to willfully use or willfully disclose the content of said audio. The penalty for the unlawful interception, disclosure or use of it is a felony punishable up to 5 years.
ACORN has alleged that the videotaping violated criminal statutes. In a September 11 letter to Fox News president Roger Ailes, Arthur Schwartz, an attorney for ACORN, wrote:
"After looking at the law, it is our conclusion that the filming and broadcast of the conversations at the Baltimore ACORN offices violates §10-402(a)(1) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code, which makes it unlawful to wilfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept any oral conversation unless all parties to the communication consent. FOX News, the filmmakers, and the producer of the videos have clearly violated this statute. It is also our belief that the tape broadcast today, involving ACORN's Washington, D.C. office, violates §23-542 of the D.C. Code in that the conversation was recorded for no purpose other than to cause injury."