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W. Va. Mother Now Facing Wiretap Charges After Recording Police

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Harold Hayes Harold Hayes
Harold Hayes joined KDKA-TV in August of 1979 as a general assignment...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A West Virginia mother accused of drowning her 2-year-old son in a hotel bathtub last year now faces new charges.

And few at the Allegheny County Courthouse have ever heard of it before. She’s accused of trying to record police questioning of her without their knowledge or consent.

Sharon Flanagan told police she brought her son here to go to Sandcastle. But when he wanted to swim in their Green Tree hotel bathtub, he ended up face down. She told police she couldn’t lift the child, although investigators say she was seen on surveillance video carrying the child with ease.

But during Monday’s hearing on whether her trial should be delayed, it was revealed that prosecutors recently filed new charges against her: violations of the wiretap law.

Investigators claim that while police questioned her, and after she declined their request to record their questioning, she kept an Olympus recording device running in her purse, and recorded six hours of conversations.

“No one can record another person’s voice without their permission so I believe even the police must get your consent before they can record it, absent some kind of judicial authorization from a judge, based on a warrant of some kind,” said her former attorney, David DeFazio.

This new wrinkle could have an interesting affect on her case.

“I’ve never heard that before,” DeFazio said. “I’ve been in this business 29 years. I’ve never heard of that. And we’ll have to see because the content could be pivotal here. It could support her case or it could hurt her case. We’ll have to see.”

Flanagan’s trial, originally scheduled to begin Monday, has been postponed while a new lawyer gets up to speed.

Flanagan no longer wants the services of DeFazio.

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