CROOKED POLITICIAN: Chesapeake Beach Councilman Stewart Cumbo Pleaded Guilty to Illegal Wiretapping

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When executing the warrants, Detectives spoke with Cumbo who admitted that he had recorded his conversation with Ms. Plymire on his cellular telephone without her permission and voluntarily gave detectives his cellular telephone.

CROOKED POLITICIAN: Chesapeake Beach Councilman Stewart Cumbo Pleaded Guilty to Illegal Wiretapping

275 times he taped citizens, government officials and others who were on the phone with him without telling them and then lying about his actions – now he won’t spend one night in jail with a plea deal

 CHESAPEAKE BEACH, MD. – First, there was the landmark case of Linda Tripp charged with illegally recording Monica Lewinsky about her affair with President Bill Clinton and their sexual trysts in the Oval Office.

Stewart-Cumbo-charged-with-felony-wiretapping-of-political-calls

Now a former Maryland State Trooper Stewart Cumbo admits taping two hundred and seventy-five phone calls – more or less – cell phone calls with various individuals who did not know they were being recorded. 

State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt announced that Stewart Cumbo, of 8250 Harrison Blvd., Chesapeake Beach, Md., a former Maryland State police officer and current member of the City Council for the Town of Chesapeake Beach, was charged in the Circuit Court for Calvert County on March 18, 2019, with illegal wiretapping. On May 28th, Cumbo pleaded guilty in a plea deal that let him off with a light sentence.

The Chesapeake Beach Town website lists the following as the elected officials, having omitted Cumbo: The Town Council and Mayor (elected November 2016 to four year terms):  Lawrence P. Jaworski, Keith L. Pardieck, Derek J. Favret, Gregory J. Morris, Valerie L. Beaudin, and  Mayor Pat “Irish” Mahoney.” Cumbo’s attorney told the Annapolis Gazette that a Probation Before Judgement wasn’t the same as a conviction and therefore Cumbo shouldn’t be bounced from the Council.

None of these recordings contain a warning by Cumbo that the telephone call is being recorded. These calls are both personal calls between Cumbo and family and friends as well as calls related to his employment as a Chesapeake Beach Councilman.

Emmet-C-Davitt-Maryland-State-Prosecutor

 Davitt announced that Stewart Cumbo, a former Maryland State police officer and current member of the City Council for the Town of Chesapeake Beach, plead guilty on May 28, 2019, in the Circuit Court for Calvert County to illegal wiretapping. Between July and November of 2018, Cumbo made approximately two hundred and seventy-five (275) unlawful recordings without notifying the person he was speaking with that they were being recorded. The statute that Cumbo was charged with is a felony under Maryland’s wiretapping laws.

Cumbo entered an Alford plea to one count of an illegal wiretap. The State and Cumbo reached a pre-indictment plea agreement in which Cumbo would receive a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ) and one hundred (100) hours of community service. The Honorable Thomas R. Simpson Jr. sentenced Cumbo to a PBJ, with three years unsupervised probation and a $2500 dollar fine, in lieu of community service.

“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” Davitt said.

Stewart-Cumbo-is-a-retired-Maryland-State-Police-Trooper

“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” Davitt said.

The Criminal Information alleges that between July and November of 2018, Cumbo made approximately two hundred and seventy-five (275) unlawful recordings without notifying the person he was speaking with that they were being recorded. The statute that Cumbo was charged with is a felony under Maryland’s wiretapping laws.

“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” Davitt said.

This matter was referred to the Office of the State Prosecutor by the Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Councilman Cumbo was represented by Matthew M. Bryant and Timothy Maloney, both of the firm Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA., of Greenbelt, Md.  Cumbo was not arrested but served a criminal summons preventing him from being booked into the Calvert County Jail and having his mugshot taken before being released on his personal recognizance.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Stewart Cumbo is a former Metropolitan and Maryland State Police Officer and he is currently a member of the City Council for the Town of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland located in Calvert County, Maryland and has been active in Chesapeake Beach politics for a number of years.

Mr. Mahoney indicated that Stewart Cumbo, a Chesapeake Bay Councilman admitted to him that he had recorded a conversation with Carrie Plymire, a member of the Board of Library Trustees on his cellphone without her permission.

On October 24, 2018, Detectives from the Calvert County Sheriff’s office received an initial complaint from Patrick Mahoney, the Mayor of Chesapeake Beach about a potential wiretap violation. Mr. Mahoney indicated that Stewart Cumbo, a Chesapeake Bay Councilman admitted to him that he had recorded a conversation with Carrie Plymire, a member of the Board of Library Trustees on his cellphone without her permission. Mahoney further stated that this recording had been played for other members of the Chesapeake Beach Town Council.

An investigation was conducted with witnesses being interviewed. Search and seizure warrants were prepared and executed by detectives for Cumbo’s home and cellular telephone. These warrants were executed on November 1, 2018. When executing the warrants, Detectives spoke with Cumbo who admitted that he had recorded his conversation with Ms. Plymire on his cellular telephone without her permission and voluntarily gave detectives his cellular telephone. Cumbo stated that all of the recordings were on his cellular telephone. Cumbo was cooperative with Detectives and gave them his passcode to his telephone as well as showed them where the recordings were stored and kept in his cellular telephone.

On November 3, 2018, Cumbo wrote a letter to Ms. Plymire and the Board of Trustees for the Calvert Library admitting that he had recorded Ms. Plymire without her permission and apologizing for his actions.

Cumbo’s cellular telephone was seized by Detectives pursuant to the lawful search and seizure warrant and was eventually forensically downloaded. The forensic download revealed approximately two hundred and seventy-five (275) unlawful recordings, between July of 2018 and November of 2018, which were stored and recorded by an “app” on Cumbo’s cellular telephone. These recordings were then reviewed and determined to be calls between Cumbo and other individuals. None of these recordings contain a warning by Cumbo that the telephone call is being recorded. These calls are both personal calls between Cumbo and family and friends as well as calls related to his employment as a Chesapeake Beach Councilman.

If called to testify witnesses would identify Cumbo as well as his voice on the recordings. Witnesses would further state that there was no warning that these calls were recorded. All events occurred in Calvert County, Maryland.

CRIMINAL INFORMATION

THE STATE PROSECUTOR for the State of Maryland informs and charges the Defendant, STEWART CUMBO, with having committed the following offenses:

COUNT I

From on or about July of 2018 through November of 2018, at Calvert County, Maryland, STEWART CUMBO did willfully intercept, through a recording on his cellular phone, an oral communication, without the knowledge or consent of the intercepted party, to wit: CUMBO used his cellular phone to record approximately two hundred and seventy-five (275) telephone calls between himself and other individuals without telling the other individuals that the call was being recorded, in violation of §10-402(a)(1) of the Court and Judicial Proceedings Article and against the peace, government and dignity of the State.

CJIS Code 1-5595

Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §10-402(a)(1)

Penalty 5 years and/or $10,000

Respectfully submitted,

EMMET C. DAVITT

STATE PROSECUTOR Stewart B. Cumbo, Councilman, Town of Chesapeake Beach, is serving his 5th Term. He has chaired numerous Town Committees such as: Town Hall Renovation, Master Landscape / Beautification, Rededication of Veteran’s Memorial Park, and Water Park Advisory. He was a member of the Maryland Route 260 / 261 Street Scape, Stars and Stripes and Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail committees. As a former Assistant Barrack Commander, Prince Frederick Barrack, Department of Maryland State Police, Stewart served as a law enforcement representative in the Calvert County Emergency Operations Center, Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Tri-County Homeland Security Committee.

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