Gawker Editor Jason Chen has hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent him in the iPhone prototype case following a police raid at his home on Friday.
Zusha Elinson reports that Chen has retained Thomas Nolan Jr. a “veteran criminal defense attorney from Nolan, Armstrong & Barton in Palo Alto, Calif.”
“Authorities are believed to be probing whether a crime was committed — and by who — when Gizmodo paid $5,000 for an Apple iPhone prototype that it said had been found in a Redwood City, Calif., bar. Gizmodo published detailed descriptions and photographs of the phone and then returned it. Police seized laptops, flash drives and credit card statements from Chen’s Fremont, Calif., home in a Friday raid.”
Nolan told Elinson that it is not yet clear if Chen is the target of the investigation but the police seizure of computers and credit card statements may have been a violation of California’s shield law. Police are currently holding Chen’s property as evidence but have stated they will not begin examining the materials until the shield law questions are resolved.
A story in the San Jose Business Journal Tuesday indicated that the criminal probe of the iPhone case was prompted by a request from Apple.
“[San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve] Wagstaffe said that an outside counsel for Apple, along with Apple engineer Powell, called the District Attorney’s office on Wednesday or Thursday of last week to report a theft had occurred and they wanted it investigated. The District Attorney’s office then referred them to the Rapid Enforcement and Allied Computer Team, or REACT, a multi-jurisdictional, high-tech crime task force that operates under the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.”
>Gizmodo Tests Journalist Shield Law after Revealing iPhone Prototype (Poynter Online)