Wiretapping defendants plead not guilty

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A pair of Massachusetts youths accused of violating federal law when recording a call between former Bills G.M. Buddy Nix and Buccaneers G.M. Mark Dominik have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the Associated Press, Joshua Barber and Nicholas Kaiser declined comment to reporters after entering their pleas and being released without bail.

The criminal complaint alleged that the duo had been hoping to finagle a tryout for Barber, a part-time deli worker, when they decided to call Nix and pretend to be Dominik.

“Mr. Barber is of the belief he has the skills to play in the NFL, and was endeavoring to get the attention of Mr. Nix to get a tryout,” Kasier’s lawyer, Rodney Personius, told the AP.

According to the criminal complaint, the men also had called the NHL’s New York Islanders and Montreal Canadians and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks, all in an effort to secure tryouts.

It’s unclear why the men believed pretending to be Dominik would work; then again, it’s unclear why they think they could secure tryouts in three different pro sports.  Regardless, one thing led to another, and the two men got Nix and Dominik on the phone together.  When they decided to record the call, they unwittingly crossed the line.

Per the report, Deadspin allegedly paid $200 for the audio, an amount the two men split.  They had shopped the recording to various news outlets.  (We weren’t approached.)

Personious believes that 1968 federal statute they allegedly violated doesn’t contemplate modern technology, which makes it much easier to record conversations.  Still, for decades technologies have existed that allow the secret recording of discussions between two or more people who don’t know their discussions are being recorded, from surveillance cameras the specifically don’t have microphones because of the 1968 statute to digital recording devices that comes in many shapes and sizes.

The lawyer also claims that the conduct wasn’t “intentional or premediated,” but he’s wrong on both counts.  The men intentionally recorded the call.  It doesn’t matter if they didn’t know it was illegal to do so.

Also, premeditation can come in an instant.  They didn’t record the call spontaneously or in a fit of rage.  They decided to record the call.  And they did.

The behavior violates the letter of the law.  The only question is whether and to what extent the prosecutor will opt for lenience.

He should.  They’re 20.  Primarily, they’re guilty of being stupid, and delusional.  If that’s a crime, the prisons would be even more crowded than they already are.

20 responses to “Wiretapping defendants plead not guilty

  1. As a lifelong Bills fan, it amuses me to no end that another party that just so happened to be from New England was caught illegally taping something from the Bills. When will they learn?

  2. If they’re poor, fine them just enough to get their attention. If they’re rich, make them do some particularly disgusting, demeaning, and public form of community service (and fine them), such as scooping up roadkill or cleaning toilets at City Hall. And anyone found guilty should do at least a few days’ actual jail time so they know what’s in store for them if they violate their probation.

  3. I know ignorance of the law is no excuse but at the same time, who the hell is privy to wiretapping laws anyhow? These dudes were just ‘clownin’, being kids, etc. Scare them straight, slap them on the wrist and move on. Why use resources on these kinds of frivolous cases. Not like they are Russian spies..

  4. It’s one thing to do what they did, but now they are lying in court. Guy said he wanted a tryout, but only played in four high school games and his coach didn’t know who he was. Liars deserve punishment.

    They should be punished with community service… cleaning the men’s room post game day at a Ralph Wilson Stadium, especially the trough.

  5. “Primarily, they’re guilty of being stupid, and delusional. If that’s a crime, the prisons would be even more crowded than they already are.”

    … And you would be writing this from one, Mr. Florio.

  6. The word wiretapping makes it seem like they hacked their phone lines or placed bugs in their office. They simply called people and recorded it. Isn’t there a difference between the two according to the law? Seems like one is a lot worse than the other.

  7. At first I thought they should just get a slap on the wrist but now that the Attorney has come up with this B.S. defense and they have plead not guilty to something they are clearly guilty of, I think they should be punished more severely for wasting the courts time and taxpayers money. They should have just plead guilty and taken their lumps.

    No offense Mike Florio but you lawyers do have a tendency to overcomplicate things.

  8. That’s horrible lawyering. The fact that they sold the rights of their recording to a media source is some admission of guilt.

    So rather than pleading guilty they should have just plead no contest.

    It wouldn’t have absolved them of what happened but at least the process would not be dragged out. Now they might face an even harsher punishment.

  9. “Also, premeditation can come in an instant.”

    A wrong answer on the bar exam. Please try again.

  10. If want a tryout, let’s give them a tryout.

    Put them in full pads football training camp for a week and get their asses kicked, then put them at goalie in a NHL practice for a day with no pads, and make them run suicides at a NBA practice.

    I’ll guarantee they won’t do this again.

  11. Some of you are missing the point that this could be a felony charge so it’s wisest to go with ‘not guilty’. I bet the prosecutor was unwilling to budge with any kind of plea deals.

  12. Welcome to America my friends! Wall street gets no punishment for tanking multiple counties econmies through corrupt practices based on lies, deceit, and souless deeds. Tape a phone call, 20 years. Jerky boys better watch out.

  13. I’d plead for leniency as it was a very childish thing to even conceive. But how many twentysomething’s are behind bars because their choice of smoking materials isn’t taxed by the government? I don’t smoke it myself, but I do pay taxes, and I’m tired of having to pay room and board to thousands whose only “crime” was not paying federal taxes to smoke.

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