WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- A federal judge said U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was wronged by a Democrat who gave a tape of an illegally intercepted phone call to the media.
The 6-year-old lawsuit began when a conference call in which Boehner participated concerning an agreement between House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the House Ethics Committee was illegally recorded by a Florida couple who had picked it up on a scanner.
The couple gave the tape to U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., at the time the ethics committee's ranking Democrat, who tried to argue it proved Gingrich had broken a pledge to the committee.
McDermott later admitted under pressure he shared the contents of the tape with reporters, but argued his action was protected under the first amendment.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled in Boehner's favor and set a hearing for September to determine if damages are warranted, WHIO-TV, Dayton, Ohio, reported Sunday.
Hogan said McDermott forfeited his first amendment protections when he accepted a recording he knew to have been obtained illegally, ruling that McDermott participated in an illegal transaction when he accepted the tape.