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N.H. blogger charged with felony wiretapping could receive 21-year prison sentence

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A New Hampshire man is facing up to 21 years in prison if convicted of illegally recording telephone conversations with…

A New Hampshire man is facing up to 21 years in prison if convicted of illegally recording telephone conversations with a high-ranking police official and two school employees.

The jury selection for the trial of blogger and self-proclaimed activist Adam Mueller is scheduled for Aug. 6 at the Hillsborough County Superior Court. Prosecutor Michael Valentine said in an interview that Mueller faces the maximum penalty of 3.5 to 7 years in prison for each of the charges against him.

Mueller, the co-founder of CopBlock.org, was indicted in December on three counts of felony wiretapping. On his website, Mueller said he signed court documents following his arraignment with the name "Ademo Freeman" and demanded that the court address him as such. The court continued to address him as "Mr. Mueller."

Mueller allegedly recorded three telephone conversations without consent. One conversation was with Capt. Jonathan Hopkins of the Manchester Police Department, and the other two conversations were with the Manchester West High School principal and a school secretary.

Mueller called Capt. Hopkins and the two school employees for comment on an incident that took place at Manchester West High School, in which a school resource officer allegedly used excessive force on a 17-year-old student. Mueller posted a video of the incident taken by a student, as well as interviews about the alleged assault, on CopBlock.org. The police department later determined that the officer did not use excessive force.

Recordings of the phone conversations were then posted on CopBlock.org, a website that features videos and blogs about police activity. The posted video of Mueller making the calls does not show that he asked for consent before recording the conversations and putting them on the website.

In New Hampshire, it is a felony to intercept or disclose the contents of any telecommunication or oral communication without the consent of all parties.

"This is a clear example of trying to censor and chill free speech," said Pete Eyre, who co-founded the website with Mueller. "All he's trying to do is hold people accountable."

Mueller, who is representing himself on the wiretapping charges, is currently serving time in Hillsborough County Jail for resisting arrest on a different matter. According to Eyre, Mueller was arrested last summer during a "pro-police accountability rally" outside of the Manchester Police Department, where Mueller was "chalking" the sidewalk and the building’s exterior walls.