“InfoWars” founder Alex Jones turned the tables on NBC host Megyn Kelly by secretly taping both their pre-interview phone call and posting the entire call on his website Friday.
Secret taping is a powerful tool for journalists. But is it legal?
In Texas, where Jones taped Kelly, the answer is yes.
“Under Texas law, Alex Jones was within his rights to secretly record his conversation with Megyn Kelly,” said lawyer Laura Lee Prather of the law firm Haynes and Boone in Austin, Texas.
“The law simply requires one party to the conversation to be aware it is being recorded, and, in this instance, that party was Mr. Jones,” Prather told TheWrap.
If the phone call was conducted with Kelly in New York and Jones in Texas, the secret taping would still be legal because New York also allows secret taping by one party to a call.
But in other states such as California, secret taping of phone conversations is illegal unless all the people in the conversation approve of the taping.
Two antiabortion activists were criminally charged in March for secretly taping their conversations with workers at Planned Parenthood office in California, where violating the law is a felony.
Early Friday, Jones “leaked” his secret pre-interview phone call with Kelly on his InfoWars site. The interview was conducted with Kelly to set up the on-camera taping of the “Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” segment.
Jones said he quietly taped Kelly because he believes the interview to be aired Sunday would misrepresent his views on the mass shooting at an elementary school in Sandy Hook and he doesn’t want NBC to air the interview.
During a 97-second promo for Kelly’s show, Jones said the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 were an “inside job” and questioned the legitimacy of accounts about the shootings at an elementary school in Sandy Hook.
“I’ve never done this in 22 years, I’ve never recorded another journalist,” Jones said in his video posted to Twitter and his website. “I’ve never done this. But I knew that it was a fraud, I knew it was a lie.”
He continued, “God, she was like, ‘I want to get steaks with you, I’m obsessed with you. Oh, my God,’ wailing around in her seat. It was all crap, and I knew it was all a lie. I said, ‘Sandy Hook happened,’ everything. She wouldn’t even put it in her promo pieces.”
In the recording, Kelly can be heard saying, “My goal is for your listeners and the Left, who will be watching some on NBC, to say, ‘Wow, that was really interesting.’ And the next time I want to get somebody, they’re going to say, ‘Look what you did to Alex Jones.’ It’s not going to be some ‘gotcha’ hit piece, I promise you that.”
Critics have blasted Kelly and NBC for giving the conspiracy theorist a platform. Kelly said critics should wait until they see the interview.
“Sunday Night With Megyn Kelly” airs on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on NBC.