Prank caller pleads not guilty to eavesdropping
Kenneth Edward Tarr, 32, pled not guilty on Monday, December 30, 2013, to one count of felony eavesdropping for making prank calls to well-known sports coaches such as NBC broadcaster and Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy and Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro.
Prosecutors allege Tarr posed as pro teams and universities recruiter in October and November while making calls to approximately six professional and college coaches. According to L.A. County district attorney’s office, the law was broken when Tarr failed to request consent from the sports figures prior to his recording of their calls.
Tarr caught authorities attention when he bragged about his prank calls
Tarr had bragged about his prank calls, and caught the attention of authorities when Dungy mentioned on a radio show that USC had contacted him about their football team’s head coaching vacancy. Pat Haden, USC Athletic Director, revealed that somebody was impersonating an official of the university.
According to court documents, Tarr was arrested at his Hollywood home in early December after Dan McNeal, a security consultant for the NFL, notified the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department that the NFL wanted to bring felony charges against Tarr for the prank calls.
Robert Sheahen, one of Tarr’s attorneys which includes Daniel Perlman, said the authorities had “bowed to pressure from the NFL” and was singling Tarr out, while other actors and TV producers, such as Ashton Kutcher, do similar pranks and go unpunished.
Robert Sheahen about Tarr’s prank calls
“To file felony charges on a case like this is absurd. He’s a performance artist and social satirist, who in pushing the bounds of social satire, ran afoul of the National Football League.”
Court documents identify other victims of Tarr’s prank calls as Norm Chow, University of Hawaii football Coach, Ken Whisenhunt, San Diego Chargers offensive coordinator, Mark Jackson, Golden State Warriors Coach, and Will Muschamp, University of Florida football Coach.
Tarr, who was accompanied by his family and attorneys, entered a not guilty plea in an L.A. downtown courthouse, and is free after posting bail of $20,000. He will return to court on February 18, 2014.
Daniel R. Perlman
The Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman