An alleged congressional staffer who filmed an explicit sex tape inside a Senate hearing room could face criminal charges, one lawyer argues.
The U.S. Capitol Police told Fox News they were aware of an amateur pornographic video published by the Daily Caller on Friday, which shows someone identified as a congressional staffer, engaging in sex with another man in Hart Senate Office Building room 216.
According to the Daily Caller, the video was leaked after being “shared in a private group for gay men in politics.” The men’s identities haven’t been confirmed.
Posts on social media claimed the alleged staffer worked for Sen. Ben Cardin’s office. Hours after the story broke, Cardin’s office announced that a legislative aide had been dismissed but did not address reports linking a member of his staff to the sex tape.
“We will have no further comment on this personnel matter,” his office wrote in a statement.
In a blog post, Fox News contributor Jonathan Turley, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law, discussed possible charges that could be brought. Turley said, “the question is whether this unofficial use would constitute trespass.”
“It also uses an official area for personal purposes, though it is not clear if there were any commercial benefits garnered from the video found on various sites,” Turley wrote.
Turley said one possible charge could fall under D.C. code section 22-1312, which discusses lewd, indecent, or obscene acts.
“It is unlawful for a person, in public, to make an obscene or indecent exposure of his or her genitalia or anus, to engage in masturbation, or to engage in a sexual act as defined in § 22-3001(8). It is unlawful for a person to make an obscene or indecent sexual proposal to a minor. A person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both,” the criminal code states.
Turley says that the question regarding charges falling under this section would be whether a locked Senate committee room is considered “in public.”
Whether or not any video filmed in the hearing room was used to make money could also “have bearing on potential charges,” Turley argued.
He also brought up 18 U.S.C. 641, which addresses improper use of public money, property, or records.
“The Capitol police could argue that this constitutes purloining or using government property for personal purposes,” Turley wrote. “The key factor is the fact that this videotape was made with the apparent intent to publish or show others. Sex in congressional offices — by both members and staff — have long been known to occur on Capitol Hill. Yet, this was a public hearing room, albeit closed at the time, and a tape made for what appears public viewing.”
Addressing trespassing, Turley said “the question may be whether this was access under legal authority for a staffer. The Capitol police can argue that access to a staff position does not mean a license for entry for any purpose.”
“Does a staffer have legal authority to enter any hearing room for any purpose? That could be a defense raised by counsel, but it would seem likely that any access is premised on an official function,” he wrote.
U.S. Capitol police told Fox News of the video, “We are aware and looking into this.”
Fox News Digital’s Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.
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