A Talbot County jury has awarded Baltimore attorney and thoroughbred horse breeder H. Morton Rosen $5.1 million in damages against a former caretaker who surreptitiously recorded Rosen's voice and then altered the recording to dub in the sounds of an apparent sex act.
Rosen had sued Kenneth R. Bailey, a former caretaker at his Ship Point estate near Easton, after Bailey presented the recording to Rosen's wife in 1993 and alleged that the 67-year-old attorney had been engaged in an affair. Rosen's wife of more than 25 years subsequently filed for divorce in a case that is pending.
James P. Gillece Jr., who represented Rosen, hailed the verdict as vindication for his client.
"Morty has devoted his entire effort to clearing his name and proving to his daughters, friends and associates that he had not done what was said about him," Gillece said.
Rosen said in a statement issued by his attorney that he was "pleased" with the verdict and looked forward to returning to a normal life. Rosen has long been prominent in Maryland's horse racing industry and has been a strong advocate of casino gambling at race tracks. He did not return telephone calls from The Sun.
Rosen claimed Bailey had violated the Maryland Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, which makes it a felony to record another person without his knowledge or permission. Gillece said he did not know whether the state will pursue criminal charges against Bailey.
Bailey said yesterday that Rosen "lied" about facts of the case, and he alleged that Rosen himself had surreptitiously taped conversations during meetings with employees. "When he would get up to answer the telephone and bend over, we could see the tape recorder in his pocket," Bailey said.
Bailey, who appeared in court without a lawyer, declined to comment on the case or the allegations against him, noting that during the trial he had taken the Fifth Amendment against being forced to incriminate himself. He did say that he is not employed and that he is approaching bankruptcy.
The jury deliberated for only two hours Wednesday before concluding that the tape made by Bailey was a fake. Paul Ginsberg, an audiotape expert hired by Rosen, testified that the tape was made in four segments.
According to testimony, Rosen was recorded without his knowledge while talking with a female client about mundane matters. Rosen's voice and the voice of the man allegedly having sex on the tape were not the same, Ginsberg testified.
"Ginsberg was able to establish that in the section of the tape depicting the apparent sex act, there is a background noise that is not present in the section with Morty Rosen's voice," said Gillece.
The case this week marks the latest legal hurdle for Rosen. Three women who worked as housekeepers at Rosen's estate between May 1992 and November 1993 filed suit in 1994, alleging that they had quit their jobs because of Rosen's sexual advances. A complaint by one of the women was dismissed last year after Talbot County Judge William Horne determined there was not sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial.
The cases of the other two women are pending. The women alleged that Rosen made sexual overtures and engaged in "misconduct" while they were in his employ, according to attorney Harry M. Walsh Jr., who represents one of the women in the pending cases.
Walsh, who also represented the woman whose case was dismissed last year, said the complaints of the women are a "separate and distinct issue" and not related to the Bailey tape. He declined to comment on the verdict in that matter.
Pub Date: 4/04/97