So what’s the big deal about recording a conversation?

Late last week, news broke that President Trump threatened former FBI Director James Comey in case any of their conversations were recorded.

If those took place in Kentucky, there could be no threat. That’s because the law is written to state that only one person has to be aware a conversation is being recorded. In the Comey/Trump case, that would mean only Comey had to be aware of the recording to make it legal. Or even Trump himself if he was recording the exchange.

State law stipulates:

526.010 Definition
The following definition applies in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
“Eavesdrop” means to overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of a wire or oral communication of others without the consent of at least one (1) party thereto by means of any electronic, mechanical or other device.
Reporters use this to their advantage and not to the point of embarrassing the person being interview. I remember Al Cross when he was the statehouse reporter for the Courier-Journal had a small recorder in his pocket. He stopped me one day after a legislative committee meeting and had his pocket recorder going.
That was fine with me, no problem. But because there had been some discussion in the legislature in those years about the use of recording devices, I asked Al about his practice.
Recording me, recording a legislator, recording anyone was Al’s modus operandi. But he did it for three reasons actually:
• to ensure any quote he used for a story was accurate.
• kept in his shirt picket so he could turn it on quickly
• because he is deaf in one ear
It wasn’t just a safeguard against misreporting a statement but moreso to have proof had the one being interviewed questioned the legitimacy of Al’s reporting in the paper. Perish the thought that any legislator would ever claim having been misquoted by someone in the news media!
Now as a professor at UK, Al says he instructs all of his students to record every interview for the sake of accuracy.
So in the Comey/Trump case, in Kentucky, only one person has to be aware a conversation is being recorded. And that could be the person in possession of the recorder.

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