Here is a version of President Trump's interview with 60 Minutes. Assume President Trump or someone working for President Trump recorded this video with an I-Phone without knowledge by 60 Minutes.

Is anyone likely exposed to civil liability? Either President Trump or the, let's assume, employee or White House staffer?

Unfortunately, we might or might not be able to definitively answer this question without knowing the specific terms of the agreement between 60-Minutes and Trump. Assuming there is one. Or can we? Please include this issue in your answer.

Notwithstanding the above paragraph, I ask you to please take to heart the educational nature of law.se when constructing your answer. For example, feel free to engage in some pedagogical speculation or hypothesizing about what the terms of the 60-Minutes agreement might or might not contain based on reasonable assumptions and commercial and industry norms. Or, perhaps, base your hypothecation on what might be most instructive.

What are the legal issues? Is expectation of privacy an issue here? Let's assume this video was recorded in the White House. Is the legality of the recording an issue? I think most states have laws restricting or not restricting audio (without video) recordings but I don't think any of that applies to audio and video together. In any event, 60-Minutes obviously knew their recording was happening. Would that knowledge also apply to a second surreptitious recording if it were required?

  • Why would we assume the circumstances of the recording to be other than what has be publicly stated? CBS was clearly aware of the recording. If you want a generic answer I think this is a duplicate. And you think a state law against surreptitious audio can be gotten around by adding surreptitious video? Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 20:56
  • @GeorgeWhite: "And you think a state law against surreptitious audio can be gotten around by adding surreptitious video?" Yes. Say you're in a state that requires two-party consent for audio recording. I'm pretty sure consent is required even when both parties are in public and there is no expectation of privacy. However, there is no consent required for a video recording because there is no expectation of privacy. And the two-party consent requirement only applies to audio. Do you disagree? Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 21:12
  • @GeorgeWhite: What is the evidence CBS was aware of the recording? Did they admit it or are you assuming they were aware? Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 21:14
  • I do not see how a hidden camera added to a hidden mic makes the audio proper if was not already ok. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 22:42
  • CBS has been reported to be unhappy that the whitehouse broke a promise to only use the footage for archival purposes. cnn.com/2020/10/22/media/60-minutes-trump-interview/index.html That implies they knew of, and conditionally agreed to the recording. Commented Oct 22, 2020 at 22:45


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