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Chesapeake Beach councilman receives probation for illegal wiretapping

A Chesapeake Beach Town Council member received probation before judgment Tuesday after entering an Alford plea to illegal wiretapping.

Stewart Cumbo, a former Maryland State Police officer, made around 275 recordings of phone calls without informing his interlocutors that they were being recorded, according to a news release from the Office of the State Prosecutor. Cumbo received probation before judgment and agreed to pay a $2,500 fine in lieu of community service.

Cumbo entered an Alford plea in Calvert County Circuit Court, maintaining his innocence but acknowledging the court has sufficient evidence to find him guilty. In March, Cumbo said in a news release that he recorded calls because he experienced occasional memory problems and did not share the recordings. He “accepted full responsibility” for his mistake, according to the release.

“We need to ensure people are respecting boundaries set by Maryland’s wiretapping laws; it is especially egregious that a former police officer would be unaware of the notice requirements under Maryland’s wiretapping laws,” State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt said in a statement.

After three years of probation, Cumbo can petition to have his record expunged.

“Councilman Cumbo appreciates the court’s recognition of his decades of public service and the immediate grant of probation before judgment,” attorney Timothy F. Maloney said in a statement. “He regrets any embarrassment and is grateful he will not have a record or conviction from this matter.”

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