Judge unseals Gizmodo ‘stolen’ iPhone warrant
A judge in San Mateo, California has unsealed the search warrant used in the seizure of evidence from Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s residence late last month. Police were investigating the loss of a prototype iPhone, which was eventually purchased by Gizmodo and reviewed on Gizmodo.com.
The warrant characterizes Chen’s actions as “receiving” stolen property and then “causing it to be damaged” by disassembling it as part of the review process.
“Suspect Brian Hogan found or stole a prototype iPhone 4G that was accidentally left at a restaurant by Apple employee Rober ‘Gray’ Powell. Hogan identified the owner of the phone as Apple Engineer Gray Powell through the contents of the phone and through Internet searches. Rather than return the prototype phone to Powell and/or Apple, Hogan subsequently sold the iPhone [to] Jason Chen in Fremont for $5,000. Upon receiving the stolen property, Chen disassembled the iPhone, thereby causing it to be damaged. Chen created copies of the iPhone prototype in the form of digital images and video, which were subsequently published on the Internet based magazine Gizmodo.com.”
Several media outlets had petitioned for the release of the search warrant, pending debate over its legality in light of California’s journalist shield law.