Gizmodo editors escape indictment but called "juvenile" in iPhone 4 prototype case

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
There was not enough evidence to indict Gizmodo editors in last year's iPhone 4 prototype debacle, though actions and correspondence by the site's editors were called "juvenile" by the court case's prosecuting district attorney.



Steven Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Attorney, said that his office's review of computers seized in a raid of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home showed no actionable evidence to charge him criminally, reports CNET. Wagstaffe did, however, comment that the e-mail conversations his office uncovered were less than professional.*



"It was obvious they were angry with the company about not being invited to some press conference or some big Apple event," Wagstaffe said. "We expected to see a certain amount of professionalism-this is like 15-year-old children talking."



The raid on Chen's home in 2010 was prompted by the editor purchasing and posting photos of an iPhone 4 prototype, reported to have been lost in a local bar. Authorities were looking for electronic files and other physical evidence that would tie Chen to the theft of the phone, after allegedly being contacted by Apple.



Under California law, any person who finds lost property and knows who the owner is likely to be, but "appropriates such property to his own use," is guilty of theft. Another law states that any person who knowingly receives illegal property can be imprisoned for up to one year.*



Wagstaffe notes that there wasn't enough evidence to charge Chen of any wrongdoing, including extortion. The reference comes from an unsealed court record that reveals Gizmodo editors, in an* e-mail exchange with then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs, listed conditions to be met before the prototype was returned.*







In the e-mails, another editor also implied that he wanted better access to Apple products in the future, CNET reports. Gizmodo has subsequently been banned from Apple events.



"There was so much animosity, and they were very critical of Apple," Wagstaffe said. "They talked about having Apple right where they wanted them and they were really going to show them."







Prosecutors ultimately did not pursue criminal charges, possibly in light of allegations that the raid on Chen's house was illegal.



The report comes on the heels of Tuesday's no-contest plea from the two suspects accused of selling the lost prototype.*



Brian Hogan, the man who allegedly found the prototype in a bar, and Sage Wallower, who allegedly shopped the device to tech sites, were each sentenced to one year probation, 40 hours of public service and $250 in restitution to be paid to Apple, reports CNET. The two men were charged with theft of lost property last August.



The no-contest plea from Hogan and Wallower differs from pleading guilty in that, while it leads to a criminal conviction, the admission of guilt can't be used in any civil lawsuits Apple may choose to pursue.



These latest developments bring an end to the more than year-long saga.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 45
    That's the face of a 14-year old and grumpy boy, there. Shame on you trying to extort previlleges!
  • Reply 2 of 45
    poochpooch Posts: 768member
    professionalism? from gizmodo chen? have you ever read anything he's written?
  • Reply 3 of 45
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,698member
    I wanted to see people end up in jail, too bad.



    Hopefully Gizmodo will never be allowed back into any Apple events, ever again, until the end of time. Apple had better not become soft, just because Mr. Jobs isn't there anymore.
  • Reply 4 of 45
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,701member
    What a bunch of douchebags. I'm sure Gizmodo will spin this story to put them in a better light. I would have loved to see the hammer dropped on those clowns, if anything just to make an example of them.
  • Reply 5 of 45
    grlymgrlym Posts: 20member
    Brian Lam posted a rather remarkable account of what impact these events had on him, and on his ongoing relationship with Steve Jobs. He sent Jobs a major apology just before Jobs died. This is one of the best personal tributes to Jobs that I have come across.

    http://thewirecutter.com/2011/10/ste...of-an-asshole/
  • Reply 6 of 45
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,461member
    @Steven Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Attorney



    Welcome to the Internet.
  • Reply 7 of 45
    n42n42 Posts: 34member
    I never really read Gizmodo. Then once the iPhone 4 fiasco happened, I started to look into them a little. It's safe to say I will never read another Gizmodo article again. Talk about opinionated, unprofessional, whiny trash. I don't even care about the iPhone thing, just try reading any of their articles..
  • Reply 8 of 45
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    Gizmodo's astonishingly misguided video with which they emblazoned their home page for literally months shows just how juvenile they are. Watch with disbelief and note the average rating and the top comments:



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WATcSu58uI4



    "The reason I love Gizmodo, I think it's honestly." Oh my...



    To say Gizmodo are banned from Apple events is perhaps slightly inaccurate. They are simply no longer wanted, needed or welcome. When you release a product, you invite journalists to come and see the launch as part of a reciprocal arrangement; you let them see the launch and give them a story, they publish an article about your new product and help you publicise it. Apple do not want Gizmodo writing about them any more. They don't consider them journalists and not being such, they are not invited.



    Gizmodo called this business a coup, I call it the most damning indictment of blog journalism there has ever been.
  • Reply 9 of 45
    irelandireland Posts: 17,671member
    Clearly Gruber's feelings were hurt. Poor baby.
  • Reply 10 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    actions and correspondence by the site's editors were called "juvenile" by the court case's prosecuting district attorney.





    Raise your hand if you are surprised.
  • Reply 11 of 45
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,144member
    I guess it goes to show you that getting a one or two week jump of something that is going to ultimately sold to the public really isn't worth it. It shows how ridiculous people can be about new Apple products. Just relax and wait for it to come out.
  • Reply 12 of 45
    k.c.k.c. Posts: 60member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post


    Gizmodo called this business a coup, I call it the most damning indictment of blog journalism there has ever been.



    I completely agree. Though I don't think you should associate blogs with journalism. While there are exceptions, they're hardly the rule. Gizmodo is not journalism.
  • Reply 13 of 45
    Thanks for the important update...



    /yawn
  • Reply 14 of 45
    Gizmodo is an embarrassment to tech 'reporting.'
  • Reply 15 of 45
    Maybe its because i believe in karma or manners but wouldnt promptly returning the iPhone gotten you better access to apple products?



    I am a techie and would love to get looks at unreleased products but i would return any lost products no questions asked. My only selfish request would have been to hand it to steve jobs himself but other then that no money in return or no access to products or anything like that.



    IF they would have said no to steve jobs himself i would have still given it back.
  • Reply 16 of 45
    This whole prosecution was dumb to begin with. Being 'juvenile' is not crime. If it were, a lot of us wouldn't be here.....



    Many posters here, who are/were (perhaps legitimately) p-o'ed with Gizmodo shamefully conflated (and surprisingly, still continue to conflate) their dislike with wishing harm upon those that they dislike.
  • Reply 17 of 45
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    This whole prosecution was dumb to begin with. Being 'juvenile' is not crime. .



    No, but dealing in stolen property is.



    The fact that the prosecutor didn't think he had enough evidence to convict doesn't mean that Gizmodo was innocent.
  • Reply 18 of 45
    diddydiddy Posts: 282member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Clearly Gruber's feelings were hurt. Poor baby.



    Wait a second - other than linking to the same article and making a one line comment on his own page (which he does as a blogger and tech reporter), what does John Gruber have to do with this article?
  • Reply 19 of 45
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,701member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by grlym View Post


    Brian Lam posted a rather remarkable account of what impact these events had on him, and on his ongoing relationship with Steve Jobs. He sent Jobs a major apology just before Jobs died. This is one of the best personal tributes to Jobs that I have come across.

    http://thewirecutter.com/2011/10/ste...of-an-asshole/



    I read his feeble attempt to save-face a day or two after SJ passed away. All that little pr!cK tried doing was the classic "better to ask for forgiveness, than permission" act.



    Brian - and the rest of the Gizmodo lowlifes - knew what they had in their hands, obtained illegally as far as I'm concerned, and tried to put a noose around SJ's neck unless he gives-in to Gizmodo's extortion tactics. That's not journalism. It's called "Blackmail".



    Good riddance to Brian Lam. His 15 minutes of fame vanished. Thankfully, because of the internet, his misdeeds will forever remain for others to do a background check on him.
  • Reply 20 of 45
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    No, but dealing in stolen property is.



    The fact that the prosecutor didn't think he had enough evidence to convict doesn't mean that Gizmodo was innocent.



    Groan.
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