Factory-reset iPhone impedes Philadelphia 76ers Twitter scandal investigation

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The Philadelphia 76ers general manager has resigned after controversy involving his wife's anonymous Twitter accounts sharing inside info on team matters.

iPhone reset screen


A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.

The Philadelphia 76ers announced Thursday that Bryan Colangelo, the team's president of basketball operations, had resigned his position with the team. The sports and popular culture website The Ringer had reported May 29 that a series of five anonymous Twitter accounts had been tweeting praise of Colangelo and criticism of his various professional rivals, including the team's previous general manager and several current and former players. The accounts also shared what appeared to be inside information about injuries, trade talks, and other team matters.

Colangelo admitted at the time that he was responsible for one of the accounts but was unaware of the others. But, when the team was made aware of two of the accounts, prior to publication, the other three soon were reset to private. Suspicion, much of it from online sleuths, soon fell on Colangelo's wife, Barbara Bottini.

The team retained the prominent New York law firm Paul, Weiss to launch an investigation. According to the firm's report, Bottini admitted to operating the other four accounts. The report said that the investigation studied "iPhones, iPads and other computer devices from multiple sources," but that "our investigation was limited and impeded by certain actions taken by Ms. Bottini, including her decision to delete the contents of her iPhone by executing a factory reset of the device prior to surrendering it for forensic review."

"It has become clear Bryan's relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised," Sixers owner Joshua Harris said in a statement issued by the team. "Recognizing the detrimental impact this matter had on the organization, Colangelo offered his resignation."

The matter is not a criminal investigation, so no one involved is likely to face any charges.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.
    I guess that’s why this is the first I’m hearing of it...

    I feel like there’s still a bunch of info they could potentially retrieve even after a factory-reset.  If they wanted to, that is.  I supposed the resignation is likely good enough.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,094member
    A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.
    I guess that’s why this is the first I’m hearing of it...

    I feel like there’s still a bunch of info they could potentially retrieve even after a factory-reset.  If they wanted to, that is.  I supposed the resignation is likely good enough.
    Considering many backups are done via iCloud, it wouldn't take much to subpoena apple for a backup copy and get the details that way.
    stevenoz
  • Reply 3 of 12
    thisisasjthisisasj Posts: 61member
    There are no subpoenas in what was essentially an investigation by Human Resources. They didn't need access to the device's contents once the lawyers got the confession from the employee's wife.
    edited June 7 randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 12
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,714member
    sflocal said:
    A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.
    I guess that’s why this is the first I’m hearing of it...

    I feel like there’s still a bunch of info they could potentially retrieve even after a factory-reset.  If they wanted to, that is.  I supposed the resignation is likely good enough.
    Considering many backups are done via iCloud, it wouldn't take much to subpoena apple for a backup copy and get the details that way.
    How would they get a subpoena without a criminal investigation?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    john.b said:
    sflocal said:
    A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.
    I guess that’s why this is the first I’m hearing of it...

    I feel like there’s still a bunch of info they could potentially retrieve even after a factory-reset.  If they wanted to, that is.  I supposed the resignation is likely good enough.
    Considering many backups are done via iCloud, it wouldn't take much to subpoena apple for a backup copy and get the details that way.
    How would they get a subpoena without a criminal investigation?
    "A subpoena that commands a person to bring certain evidence, usually documents or papers, is called a Subpoena Duces Tecum, from the Latin "under penalty to bring with you.". This type of subpoena is often used in a civil lawsuit where one party resists giving the other party documents through the discovery process."
    legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/subpeona

    But I expect this is a done deal with no need for a law suit.
    bshank
  • Reply 6 of 12
    stevenozstevenoz Posts: 193member
      
    I suspect that much of professional sports is 'fixed' or corrupted on some level.  Too much money involved.

    A criminal charge might have drawn more attention to the confidential info leaks... and perhaps have prevented more.

    Ms. Bottini obstructed an investigation... for what purpose?




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    It’s like politicians... 

    The guilty party steps down.  Poof the scandal is gone.
    cornchip
  • Reply 8 of 12
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,769member
    stevenoz said:
      
    I suspect that much of professional sports is 'fixed' or corrupted on some level.  Too much money involved.

    A criminal charge might have drawn more attention to the confidential info leaks... and perhaps have prevented more.

    Ms. Bottini obstructed an investigation... for what purpose?
    Define “much”? Certainly there is “some”, such as a tainted ref here and there, or whatever the Patriots have cooked up lately, but I wouldn’t wager there’s a large amount of corruption, especially in team events which have so many moving pieces as to make successfully implementing a corruption scheme difficult. 
    edited June 7
  • Reply 9 of 12
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,167member
    sflocal said:
    A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.
    I guess that’s why this is the first I’m hearing of it...

    I feel like there’s still a bunch of info they could potentially retrieve even after a factory-reset.  If they wanted to, that is.  I supposed the resignation is likely good enough.
    Considering many backups are done via iCloud, it wouldn't take much to subpoena apple for a backup copy and get the details that way.
    Assuming those backups still exist. I mean if I wasn’t being made to give my phone to a bunch of lawyers and I wanted to destroy the evidence, I’d back it up to my computer and erase all backups online and then the device. And then I’d copy the backup to a USB drive to hide it and erase it from my computer. No one would think to demand i hand over a thumb drive they didn’t know about even if they thought of my computer 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 172member
    An internal HR matter and he’s gone? Shrug. Factory reset and previously encrypted would be tough. If the company could have gained cloud access I bet it’s all there. Wiping a handset is one thing, erasing your entire cloud existence something else entirely. She’d really hesitate before doing that. Unless, as others noted, she had a local backup. I do both as fires, floodsvetc. happen. 
    edited June 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    macguimacgui Posts: 753member
    charlituna said:
    No one would think to demand i hand over a thumb drive they didn’t know about even if they thought of my computer.
    Bullshit. That's what good lawyers do— think of things like that which you're not smart enough to think they would think of. You've obviously never seen a properly written subpoena or search warrant.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    sflocal said:
    A story that captivated the sports world in recent weeks culminated Thursday in the resignation of a professional basketball team's top executive, the confirmation that the executive's wife was responsible for running a series of anonymous Twitter accounts, and the revelation that the wife had factory-reset her iPhone prior to handing it over to a law firm hired to investigate the matter.
    I guess that’s why this is the first I’m hearing of it...

    I feel like there’s still a bunch of info they could potentially retrieve even after a factory-reset.  If they wanted to, that is.  I supposed the resignation is likely good enough.
    Considering many backups are done via iCloud, it wouldn't take much to subpoena apple for a backup copy and get the details that way.
    Having burner twitter accounts isn’t a crime..
    cornchip
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