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Judge Orders Gizmodo Search Warrant Unsealed 526

Posted by Soulskill
from the plot-thickens dept.
gyrogeerloose writes "The same judge who issued the warrant to search Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's apartment has now ordered it unsealed, ruling against the San Mateo County district attorney's office which had argued that unsealing the documents may compromise the investigation." You can read the entire affidavit here (PDF). It has a detailed description of the police investigation that led to the seizure of Chen's computers. It turns out Steve Jobs personally requested that the phone be returned, prompting Gizmodo's Brian Lam to try negotiating for a public acknowledgment that the phone was real. Apple was tipped off to the man who found/stole the prototype by his roommate.
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Judge Orders Gizmodo Search Warrant Unsealed

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  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:39PM (#32214218)

    But to his defense he can claim he was trying to verify ownership of the item.

    Unfortunately this story makes it clear that the "finder" knew that the phone belonged to someone named Powell before he sold it to Gizmodo. Did Gizmodo know? Well they knew that the seller wasn't the owner. That's what the warrant and investigation are trying to find out. If Gizmodo knew the identity of the owner before the money changed hands, then they are in trouble.

  • Re:wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reverberant (303566) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:40PM (#32214222) Homepage

    Ansd what's up with this: "I therefor pray that a search warrant be issued so the items..."

    Pray?

    It's a term of art [google.com] in the legal field.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:49PM (#32214350)

    All Apple had to do was state this was their property, which is entirely reasonable. Until they do, they can't claim it's stolen property.

    If you've followed the story, and read todays affidavit, its perfectly clear that Gizmondo and Hogan both knew full well the phone belonged to Apple. The confirmation demand was nothing to do with establishing the owner for the purpose of return of the device, but to make something else for Gizmondo to post on their blog. Thus, no it's not in the slightest bit reasonable. In fact it may well add the crime of extortion to the list.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:55PM (#32214440)

    That argument falls down because in the email where Gizmondo demand official confirmation that it's Apple's phone, they already clearly accept that they already know it's Apple's phone. They are quite open about the fact that they only want the official confirmation for so called journalistic purposes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:56PM (#32214446)

    They did state it was their property. Steve jobs made a personal phone call to the Gizmodo editor. Gizmodo employees knew the name and FaceBook account of the Apple engineer who lost it.

    It wasn't a , "Hey give it to me!"

    It was, "This is Apple property. We would like it back, please."

    Gizmodo's reaction was, "Give us something in return for it"

    This "something in return" was a legal letter so they could publish it online. They've even stated it on their their e-mail to Steve jobs that was just released. They wanted something to give them page hits, plain and simple.

  • by jeko (179919) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:57PM (#32214458)

    You can't have it both ways. You can't publicly deny it's yours while simultaneously demanding the return of the phone.

  • Re:Pretty .. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:10PM (#32214610)

    No one stole anything.

    Yes, a phone was stolen.

    and from the stories I read, there was an attempt to return it but Apple was too stupid to take it.

    And yet, there is no evidence of any attempt to return it - and from the police documents that have been released, a ton of evidence that it was known to be stolen, and efforts made to cover the thieves' trail.

  • Priorities (Score:5, Informative)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:10PM (#32214612)
    I had my motor home broken into in Sunnyvale and my possessions stolen. I called the police. They told me "Here is your report number. You have insurance right?" I said "No, not for theft." "Well then, why are you calling us?" they replied. "I thought you might want to come out and investigate. They broke the lock, left their tool, probably left fingerprints everywhere..." "No, we don't do that", said the cop, and hung up.

    I guess the cops understand exactly who pays their salaries.
  • by vrillusions (794844) on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:17PM (#32214694) Homepage

    (yes, I read the entire investigation part of the affidavit)

    According to Brian Hogan's room mate (pg 14) an "intoxicated male" gave him a phone believing it was his. Hogan remained at the bar "a little while longer" and no one claimed the phone.

    According to Powel (the employee who lost the phone) (pg 16) he states his last memory of the phone was placing it in his bag and then placing the bag by his feet.he was there till closing at 11:00 PM local time. He left when the restaurant started to close and he thinks the phone could not have remained in the restaurant more than 15 minutes.

    Brian's room mate called the police because the phone was synced to her computer and Hogan's and was afraid law enforcement could get the ip address and trace it back to her (pg 12). So she was calling to absolve herself from legal issues. Also when she was shown the phone it appeared apple may have already done a remote wipe of the phone.

    George Riley says (pg 12) that the phone was invaluable and that the $8500 (yes, supposedly he got $8500 total, no source on the other $2500 though) that Hogan got the phone was worth the price of the phone if not more.

    Brian Hogan and someone else (sorry, I'm getting tired of finding this in the pdf) knew the police were investigating and was in the process of destroying/hiding evidence. The police went to hogan's father's house and found Hogan with his girlfriend. He said that the other person had some of the evidence. Eventually they got a hold of him and he placed the other items in front of a church.

    Only other gem I found in there is a quote as stated by brian's room mate when she urged him not to sell the phone as it would ruin Robert Powel's image he told her "Sucks for him. He lost his phone. Shouldn't have lost his phone"

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thinboy00 (1190815) <thinboy00 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:34PM (#32214874) Journal

    Lesson learned: deal with the Giz, you might be in the Shiz.

    ...how did anything Gizmodo did in any way cause him to be arrested? They were very discrete about his name, it was his roommate who busted him.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @07:50PM (#32215052)

    OP here.

    "Would you be this vehement if it weren't an Apple prototype?"

    Absolutely, although the vehemence scales with the worth of the item and the douchebaggery involved in its "recovery".

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:12PM (#32215240)

    Just to point out the most obvious nonsense in your post, Apple never denied it was theirs.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:58PM (#32215698)

    They refused to confirm it was theirs.

    Please supply the quote. Oh that's right, you can't, because they did no such thing.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday May 14, 2010 @08:59PM (#32215708)

    A task force specifically created to investigate crimes against large corporations?

    How is that NOT a "pet police force?"

    Who said it had anything to do with "large corporations"? In fact, their most common investigations seem to involve identity theft and online computer fraud, two areas that affect individuals at least as much as "large corporations".

    And those are also two areas that the "regular" police forces are not trained to investigate properly, which is the WHOLE POINT of a computer/tech crimes task force! I know several people who have had to deal with woefully undertrained police when their identity was stolen or they were scammed/wronged by an online store. I'm sure they would have really appreciated being able to talk to detectives with proper training and experience in those areas.

  • by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:36PM (#32216018) Homepage

    "Please supply the quote."

    Quit being lazy and read the filed court documents yourself, fool. You've got a brain, fucking use it or STFU.

    "Sewell [Senior VP at Apple] told me [the detective] that after Gizmodo.com released its story regarding the iPhone prototype on or about 4/19/2010, Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) contacted the editor of Gizmodo.com, Brian Lam. Jobs requested that Lam return the phone to Apple. Lam responded via the email address blam@gizmodo.com that he would return the iPhone on the condition that Apple provided him with a letter stating the iPhone belonged to Apple. [...] Sewell said that after the letter confirming the ownership of the phone was sent to Lam, Lam responded via email that the phone was in the possession of Jason Chen at [address omitted]."

    My emphasis, which I fear might not be enough.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 14, 2010 @09:59PM (#32216212)

    Apple never "claimed it wasn't theirs". You don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

    I'll spell it out so even a fucktard like you can understand it:
    -The person who found the device did not turn it over to the management of the bar or to the police as would be reasonably expected even of a REGULAR cell phone, but because this phone was worth more than $500, this becomes a felony. He knew the owner was Gray Powell and he knew how to contact him, but he made no effort to do so. He knew that Powell was an Apple employee, and did not make reasonable efforts to contact Apple. The phone was STOLEN.
    -He admitted to his roommate that he was sure it was a prototype Apple device and he knew that giving it to Gizmodo would be economically damaging to Apple. He didn't care.
    -He sold -- for $5,000+ -- a phone that wasn't his. Even if he didn't know the owner, this is still a felony.
    -Gizmodo paid it (the felony of receiving stolen goods), and they did so with intent to commit the felony of copying/photographing trade secrets, at great fiscal expense to Apple. While dismantling the phone, they damaged it. (Yet another felony.)
    -Even when Gizmodo was satisfied that the phone belonged to Apple, they refused to return it until they had PUBLIC recognition that it was a legitimate phone or a follow-up from Apple Legal. PRIVATE recognition was not enough. In other words, they were refusing to return someone else's property until they could use it for their own personal gain. (By itself, this qualifies as possession of stolen property.)

    If you're defending Gizmodo or the shithead who stole the phone, you're a cretin. FACT.

  • Re:Roommates (Score:5, Informative)

    by HermMunster (972336) on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:55PM (#32216528)

    No felony occurred until a jury says one has. Reading the affidavit gave me pause in how the detective intentionally exaggerated the circumstances to make it look as if a conspiracy took place.

    Birth dates, residences, and drivers licenses were disclosed making at least 3 people susceptible to identity theft.

  • Re:Hrmm (Score:2, Informative)

    by Talizorah (1773088) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:07PM (#32216594)
    That is your personal definition of the word copy, which has no application in this context.

    The definition of "copy" under Penal Code section 499c is the only definition that is relevant to this case or discussion.

    California Penal Code Section 499c(a)(7)
    "[...] any facsimile, replica, photograph or other reproduction of an article, and any note, drawing or sketch made of or from an article."

    Before you argue that this is an iPhone and not an "article"...

    California Penal Code Section 499c(a)(2)
    "[...] any object, material, device, or substance or copy thereof, including any writing, record, recording, drawing, sample, specimen, prototype , model, photograph, micro-organism, blueprint, map, or tangible representation of a computer program or information, including both human and computer readable information and information while in transit."
  • Re:Wtf? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:20PM (#32220680)

    Because you're blinded by your apparent hatred for Apple, you are ignoring the fact that Gawker knowingly paid for stolen property and then knowingly divulged trade secrets for financial gain. I continue to be amazed by the number of people that continue to support Gizmodo and Gawker when the FACTS coming our of the investigate do nothing but show wrongdoing on their part.

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