Ex-Patriot Jermaine Cunningham Due In Court For ‘Revenge Porn’ Charges

ELIZABETH, N.J. — An NFL linebacker facing charges over “revenge porn” is scheduled to appear in a New Jersey courtroom Wednesday morning for a plea conference.

Jermaine Cunningham, a free agent who was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2010 and was with the New York Jets last year, is charged with criminal mischief, invasion of privacy and unlawful weapons transport. The 26-year-old pleaded not guilty in January. His lawyer says he expects Cunningham to be exonerated on all charges.

Authorities say the charges stem from a domestic violence incident at a Summit, N.J., residence on Dec. 29. A prosecutor’s spokesman says a loaded handgun was found in Cunningham’s car.

The case against Cunningham comes amid a national push to punish jilted lovers and others who distribute racy photos.

The decade-old New Jersey law being used to prosecute Cunningham was the first of its kind in the country, and 16 more states have passed laws since, including 14 in the past two years. At least 10 additional legislatures are considering revenge porn laws.

Federal legislation also is expected to be introduced this year, even as some detractors of the laws warn that advocates are overreaching into territory that could be protected as First Amendment expression.

The movement to criminalize an action that can lead to lost jobs and ruined lives gained steam as ubiquitous cellphone cameras and online social networks eased the way for sharing anything from the mundane to the most personal.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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