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LeAnn Rimes Sues Over Secret Phone Recordings

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By Andrew Lu on August 31, 2012 9:39 AM

LeAnn Rimes has brought a lawsuit against two Northern California women for allegedly secretly recording their phone conversation.

The lawsuit comes just days after Rimes sought professional help for anxiety and stress, reports The Associated Press.

Rimes claims the recorded phone conversation and subsequent release to the public invaded her privacy and cast her in a negative light. She's seeking $25,000 from Kimberly Smiley and her daughter Lexi.

LeAnn Rimes' lawsuit may serve as a reminder about why celebrities should not engage their Internet haters directly. After all, the Internet is mostly an anonymous place and people will hate -- that's their right.

Smiley had apparently posted some negative comments about Rimes online. Somehow, a friend of Rimes connected the country singer with her online critic to try to put an end to the Internet comments, reports the AP.

But the phone conversation reportedly did not go as planned, and Smiley was able to record some unflattering statements by Rimes that were subsequently posted online.

By allegedly recording the phone conversation and releasing it to others, Smiley may have broken California law and violated Rimes' rights.

In general, it is illegal to record a phone conversation in California without the other person's consent. If Smiley is prosecuted (it's not certain if she will be), she could face up to a year in jail.

Aside from the potentially criminal consequences from the recorded phone call, LeAnn Rimes is seeking civil damages for the "public and damaging depiction" she says resulted from the released phone call, reports the AP. LeAnn Rimes' lawsuit seeks $25,000 in damages, but she could get triple that as punitive damages.

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