Kim Kardashian struck a mighty blow against Taylor Swift last night in the ongoing Kanye-West-Kardashian-Swift feud when she posted a video on Snapchat that provided proof Swift had approved West’s lyric referencing her in his hit song “Famous.”
This is a nice recap of the entire saga, but the short version is Swift took public exception to the line in the song referencing her, while West claimed he sought and attained Swift’s blessing to use the line prior to releasing it.
Until Sunday night, it was just a case of West’s word against Swift’s. However, the video Kardashian posted to Snapchat attempted to prove West’s version of the story was correct, and Swift had been lying about her involvement with the song.
Swift posted a statement to her social media accounts late Sunday night that told her side of the story.
That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet. pic.twitter.com/4GJqdyykQu
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) July 18, 2016
While the PR war is still being waged, Kardashian may have left herself and West open for potential legal consequences. Swift has apparently known about the tape since February, when she and her lawyer sent the couple a letter threatening legal action.
The recording allegedly occurred at a Los Angeles studio, which is a significant detail. Although federal law and many other state wiretapping laws allow calls to be recorded with the consent of just one party, California law requires everyone involved to be aware.
Mashable spoke to lawyer Paul Wallin, a senior partner at law firm Wallin and Klarich, who said West and Kardashian could face criminal consequences. However, he said these cases are unlikely to be pursued by the state unless the victim wants to pursue criminal prosecution.
“It’s pretty simple. If someone in California records a conversation which is intended to be confidential … without the permission of the other party, they are subject to being prosecuted for a misdemeanor,” he said.
“It’s very unlikely that law enforcement would want to get involved in something like this if the victim didn’t want prosecution,” said Wallin, who noted that he has previously defended wiretapping cases.
Under California law, the punishment for this kind of offense is up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,500. Wallin also spoke upon the possibility of civil suit from Swift.
Wallin noted that Swift could sue for defamation, particularly if she pursues a criminal case that results in a guilty verdict.
Swift would then be able to claim that the release of the video defamed her and that she should be compensated for it.
And since Swift is arguably one of the most famous people in the world, those damages could be huge, Wallin said.
“Taylor Swift is such a high profile person that damages could be astronomical,” Wallin said.
While Swift’s windfall could be huge in a civil case, the likelihood of a successful one is low. The laws regarding defamation of a public figure in California are such that Swift would need to prove the defaming statement in question is false, which would be a tall order in this case. Still, it appears criminal consequences for the couple are within the realm of possibility.