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Pranksters who taped NFL GMs now face federal wiretapping charges

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Then-Bills GM Buddy Nix. (Getty Images)

The prank where two GMs unwittingly ended up talking to one another and dropping some free-agent conversation has taken a decidedly unfunny turn.

Back in March, Tampa Bay GM Mark Dominik and then-Buffalo GM Buddy Nix found themselves talking to one another, each thinking the other had called. And they began discussing some behind-the-scenes info on trades and players.

Turns out the two had been set up by two 20-year-old men from Massachusetts, Joshua Barber and Nicholas Kaiser. They called each GM, pretending to be the other, then conferenced the calls together and silently recorded them. Deadspin posted the recording, and we all had a little chuckle about it.

But even then, there were concerns about the legality of the whole endeavor. The league announced its intention to press forward with an investigation at the time. Yahoo! Sports' Martin Rogers first raised the possibility of severe charges, a possibility which has now come to pass. The men now have been charged with federal wiretapping violations, and must appear in court in Buffalo on June 4. They face up to five years in prison.

"The New York Penal Code protects individuals against actions such as this with statutes on eavesdropping and interception of communications," L.A.-based criminal defense attorney Christopher Blaylock told Yahoo! Sports. "Statutes such as these can be open to the interpretation of a court, but a strong case could be made here given that neither party consented to the recording or monitoring of the conversation."

It's pretty clear that this was a simple prank, but one that grew way out of hand.

-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-

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