December 18, 2023
If parties so choose to have sex in a government building, film it, and post the video online, it is best to know the law, and there is no one better to explain it than the eminent George Washington law professor and legal scholar Jonathan Turley.
Turley weighed in on this matter on his legal blog over the weekend.
His advice for those men in the raunchy video in this latest sordid sexual mess on Capitol Hill that went viral over the weekend is to shut up and talk with a lawyer since the Capitol Police has opened an investigation.
In a LinkedIn post, former senate staffer Aidan Maese-Czeropski, stated he was going through a "difficult time."
Maese-Czeropski is no longer employed in Democratic Maryland Senator Ben Cardin's office. In a statement Saturday, Cardin's office said Czeropski no longer works there. Cardin is Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
According to Turley, just because Maese-Czerposki is no longer employed there may not prevent him from facing criminal charges.
"The resignation of Maese-Czeropski will not necessarily end any Capitol Police Investigation. Given the possibilities of charges, further public statements are unwise until the former aide speaks with counsel," Turley wrote on his legal blog.
The video in question was leaked to Daily Caller and released on Friday and went viral.
It showed two men engaged in anal sex in Senate room Hart 216, where many hearings have been held from Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination hearing to the 9/11 Commission hearings to then FBI Director James Comey testifying on Donald Trump in 2017. It was the very room where then Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle received an anthrax letter in October 2001 just following 911.
Turley noted the possible charges that could be brought against the two individuals in the video ranging from "lewd, indecent, or obscene acts," to misuse of public property since this occurred on government property to trespassing.
"Staffers have access into such rooms, but the question is whether this unofficial use would constitute trespass. It also uses an official area for personal purposes, though it is not clear if there were any commercial benefits garnered from the video found on various sites," Turley wrote.
"One obvious criminal provision is Section 22-1312 for lewd, indecent, or obscene acts," Turley noted.
It has been confirmed that the video in question was shared in a chat group for gay men who work in the political arena.
Turley broke down the legal nuances.
"The questions is whether this is "in public" in a locked committee room - any more than sex in a congressional office after hours would be viewed as 'in public," Turley wrote.
Turley asserted that charges could be brought for misuse of government property and the Capitol Police could very well decide these actions constitute "purloining or using government property for personal purposes," which then raises the question of whether trespass charges could be brought.
Turley raised the legal question, "...was access under legal authority for a staffer..."
"The Capitol Police can argue that access to a staff position does not mean a license for entry for any purpose. under 18 U.S.C. 1752, trespass covers anyone who 'knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so," the legal scholar added.
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Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”