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Will Kim Kardashian Be Criminally Charged for Secret Taylor Swift Recording?

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on July 20, 2016 6:59 AM

Musicians Kanye West and Taylor Swift have a strange relationship, which is swiftly getting more bizarre. Kanye long ago insulted Swift when she received her first Grammy award and recently released a song, called "Famous," claiming he made her famous.

This week Kanye West's wife, Kim Kardashian West, released footage to her Snapchat of a phone call that Kanye made seeking approval for the song from Swift. She responded on Instagram, saying West was not explicit about the line. But the social media firestorm is not the real issue here, as People reports. The issue is recording a conversation without the knowledge of one party on the line, which is a crime in California.

Criminal Call?

Theoretically, there would have been no problem if Kanye let Swift know that someone was recording the call. But he did not, and Kardashian's involvement in both recording and publication implicates her. The move could land her in jail, reports People.

Multiple sources have confirmed to the magazine that Kanye West made his call to Taylor Swift from Los Angeles and did not tell her he was recording. This action, recording a phone call secretly, is a violation of California Penal Code Section 632.

The offense was recently summed up neatly in a bill analysis of a California Senate Committee Hearing on eavesdropping law. These are the penalties Kardashian could be facing if she is charged for violating the relevant section of the California Penal Code:

Existing law punishes eavesdropping or recording confidential communications as an a [sic] fine of up to $2,500, or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or by a felony punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for 16 months, 2 or 3 years, or both fine and imprisonment. A subsequent conviction can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment in county jail or a felony punished by imprisonment in the county jail for 16 months, 2 or 3 years or both fine and imprisonment.

A Wobbler

Although People states that the offense in question is a felony, it is what's commonly called a "wobbler." The crime may be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case and a defendant's criminal history.

In any case, Section 632 may not be the only section of the California Penal Code that Kardashian could be guilty of violating. According to Gregory Brown, an Irvine-based attorney who spoke to People, she may also face a charge for violating Section 637 of the California Penal Code "for willfully disclosing the contents of a private phone call without permission from all parties. This carries up to one year in prison and up to $5,000 fine."

For now, however, it seems that this drama is being played out on social media, and not a criminal courtroom. Still, Swift is famously litigious and People is predicting that she could sue the Wests for invasion of privacy based on this incident. That is, if she's not ready to Shake It Off.

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