3:28pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Lawyer Sues Roc Nation, Amazon Over Taped "Off the Record" Conversation About Meek Mill Case
Meek Mill is fighting to clear his name in connection with decades of legal trouble, and now a lawyer who represents the judge that has been handling his case is suing over audio he says was recorded without permission in connection with the rapper's upcoming Amazon docuseries.
A. Charles Peruto Jr. represents Judge Genece Brinkley, who has sent the rapper to prison on multiple occasions for probation violations. Most recently, Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison for a failed drug test and a failure to comply with a court order restricting his travel — even though prosecutors recommended he not be imprisoned. Mill has been fighting for a new trial for his 2008 conviction on drug gun-related charges, and his legal team has fought to remove Brinkley from the case.
The interview was part of an upcoming Amazon docuseries about Mill's fight for exoneration and "flaws in the criminal justice system." Peruto says after the interview ended he asked to go off the record and the interviewer told him the camera would be turned off. He agreed — but later found out that, while the camera was pointed toward a wall, it was still recording and the audio of their conversation was clear.
Peruto is heard saying that Brinkley should grant Mill a new trial, which understandably made the rounds in the press. Peruto is suing Amazon, Roc Nation and The Intellectual Property Company, which are all involved with the docuseries. He maintains the recording is his property, and he wants it back.
"These illegally intercepted and digitized oral communications were then edited and leaked to the press so that Mr. Peruto’s off the record words would be manipulated against him and his client, Judge Brinkley, and to maliciously further their own agenda in maximizing the buzz and profitability of the upcoming Meek Mill Documentary Series," writes attorney James Beasley Jr. in the complaint.
Pennsylvania is a two-consent state. So both parties must consent to a conversation being recorded. A key issue will be if and how that consent can be withdrawn while one is still wearing a mic and speaking to a member of the media, which is not dissimilar to the situation Donald Trump was in while speaking with Billy Bush on the now-infamous Access Hollywood tape.
Here, Peruto claims he specifically revoked consent.
"The only reason that Mr. Peruto agreed to participate in the off the record discussion was because he withdrew permission and consent to intercept any aspect of the oral communication," writes Beasley. "Had these defendants informed Mr. Peruto that they were continuing the audio recording, and intercepting the oral communication, he would have ceased the discussion and instructed them to leave."
Peruto is asking the court to order that defendants give him the audio recording while the litigation plays out and turn over a list of any third party who may have a copy. He also wants the defendants barred from using it in any way.
Reps for Mill, IPC, Roc Nation and Amazon have not yet commented on the complaint.