The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled by a 5-4 margin back in May that McDermott improperly leaked the phone conversation, which involved GOP leaders - including Boehner - strategizing on how to deal with the fallout from an ethics case against then Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).
Back ground on this: The phone call was recorded by a couple who had given money to the democrats and received a radio scanner has a thank you gift. It was illegal to modify a scanner, yet somehow it had been so that it could receive signals on the cell phone bans. March 2006 A lower court ruled 2-1 in favor of John Boehner
The court said, "Because there was no genuine dispute that Representative McDermott knew the Martins had illegally intercepted the conversation, he did not lawfully obtain the tape from them."
Now for a little background on the phonecall that started it all.
The call was intercepted by Mr. and Mrs. John Martin of Fort White, Fla. They were driving through Jacksonville and listening to a new police scanner illegally constructed to intercept broadcast phone calls. They also had a tape recorder on the front seat.
Upon recognizing Newt Gingrich's voice they stopped and flipped on their recorder. The message was coming through to Rep. Boehner enroute to Marco lsland. He was parked at a restaurant while his family had breakfast.
The group were discussing what Newt's response should be when the Ethics sub-committee released Gingrich's admission confession the next day. Gingrich asked his lawyer if the Ethics Committee special counsel, Jim Cole, had approved the three-way discussion. The answer was yes. The question was pertinent because Gingrich had agreed not to make any "public announcements" in his defense. Democrats later contended the private call violated the agreement, though it is clear that the embattled speaker had checked first with the special counsel and never defended himself -- a tactical error.
The Martins -- Democrat party activists -- took the tape to the local office of Florida Rep. Karen Thurman. She listened and advised the Martins give the tape to Minority Whip David Bonior when they went to Washington, D.C., to attend the opening ceremony of Congress.
Bonior denies knowledge of the tape, but someone on his staff told the Martins to take it to Rep. McDermott. They waited several hours outside the committee room door for McDermott. He took the tape and thanked them. The Martins said they had been promised "immunity" from any legal consequences of taping and distributing an intercepted phone call. Thus, it is obvious that all knew the tape was illegal
With a little effort it would not be hard to think that this "gift" was given expressly to get this type tape.