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Can Taylor Swift take legal action against Kanye & Kim? Legal expert weighs in

Scott Leemon talks to REVOLT about the Swift-Kimye gate.

Last night (July 18), Kim Kardashian-West posted a series of videos to Snapchat that pretty much corroborated comments given to GQ last month in her cover story, where he revealed that there's video proof of Taylor Swift signing off on her infamous reference in Kanye West's "Famous" single. "She totally approved that," shared Kim. "She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn't. I swear, my husband gets so much shit for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved." Days after the quote took off in the media circuit, reps for Swift quickly denied the whole scenario and stated, "Taylor cannot understand why Kanye West, and now Kim Kardashian, will not just leave her alone." That latest nail in the "Famous" debacle came via Kim K's Sunday night Snapstory, which outs the "Shake It Off" star as approving the lyric ("I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous"). This was the latest entry in the disagreement that has been brewing for months, but also raised serious legal concerns, which a legal expert noted.

A transcription of the call has been made available on E! News and according to her rep, Swift said that she didn't get enough information prior to the song's release to grant her full blessing. The pop star responded to Kim K's post on Instagram, slyly captioning it "that moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the internet."

In a statement to REVOLT, legal expert Scott Leemon (his clients include 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and more), said the incident bring up two issues: 1) Whether the call was placed from or received in a state that calls for both parties to give consent to being recorded and 2) Whether or not Kim violated Swift's right of privacy after publishing the phone call the latter believed was made privately.

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"There can be some potential criminal liability," said Leemon to REVOLT. "California is a two-party consent state which requires notification to all parties that a call or conversation is being recorded. It prevents surreptitious recordings without judicial authorization."

In the state of California, it is a criminal offense to record a conversation without the consent of all involved parties. Under the California Penal Code, sections 631 and 632, the first offense can carry a fine of $2500 or even imprisonment for up to one year. For a person who had been previously convicted for violating Section 631, a fine can be set at no more than $10,000 or imprisonment for up to a year.

While rarely prosecuted, it is a statute on the books. It would probably only be pursued by law enforcement if a complaint was actually filed.

So basically, if Swift did not give consent to the call recording, she herself could file a lawsuit against both West and Kim K and sue for damages. According to TMZ, after the release of the footage, sources close to Swift said the singer was thinking "through the consequences of filing a police report." This comes after word got out that Swift's legal team threatened West with criminal prosecution after learning about the recorded conversation. All in all, under California law, Kanye West could face criminal penalties for the recording, while Kardashian could face damages or fines for the publicizing the recording.

According to Leemon, legal action can only go forward if Taylor ultimately pursues it. "While rarely prosecuted, it is a statute on the books," he stated. "It would probably only be pursued by law enforcement if a complaint was actually filed."

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