∞ D.A. won't take action against Gizmodo in iPhone 4 case


The District Attorney of San Mateo County is moving forward in the case of the iPhone 4 prototype we posted about last year. Fortunately, nobody from our team is being charged.Here’s our parent company, Gawker Media’s official statement on the matter:We are pleased that the District Attorney of San Mateo County, Steven Wagstaffe, has decided, upon review of all of the evidence, that no crime was committed by the Gizmodo team in relation to its reporting on the iPhone 4 prototype last year. While we have always believed that we were acting fully within the law, it has inevitably been stressful for the editor concerned, Jason Chen, and we are glad that we can finally put this matter behind us.

Background for those with short memories: Gizmodo came into possession of an iPhone 4 long before its release. They made hay about it, and they also went so far as to ridicule the Apple engineer who allegedly lost the phone. It was tacky. Even if the D.A.’s office doesn’t take action against them, Gizmodo still acted like jerks.

  • Don’t forget the extortion attempt by former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam to Steve Jobs, by email no less. 

    • Peter Cohen

      Good point.

  • Unfortunately, the District Attorney of San Mateo County is too afraid to touch the third rail of the law and charge journalists with any crimes for fear of losing the case.

    • Peter Cohen

      It’s galling that Gawker conflates this – the DA not wanting to press the case – with working within the law.

  • Vamsmack

    Damn it. I was hoping for the death penalty.

  • I’m really sad to hear this. I wanted to see Gawker in court, trying to explain this. 

    Thanks, San Mateo DA. Enjoy your future career in do-nothing politics.

  • I don’t like this at all. They knowingly bought stolen property and they should be held accountable for that.

    • Anonymous

      Cali is broke and bringing this to trial would be expensive, particularly since the best they might get off Chen is probation, a little community service and a slap on the wrist. 

      It’s just not worth it so the DA isn’t going to bother. 

      • That’s a great message to send to future potential transgressors.

        • Anonymous

          The massive press this received reduces the number of folks that could claim they didn’t realize that finding a lost item and not returning it is by law theft. Also there’s the press on the issue that shield laws don’t cover illegal actions, especially when you confess to doing them in an article. 

          and they haven’t cleared the actual theft yet. 

          • Unfortunately, gossip mills like Giz are still out there, promoting opinion about issues like this as fact, and encouraging loyal readers to believe similarly.

  • Hmmm… I think I’ve discovered a new business opportunity in trade secrets! Apparently all is good now! Hooray!

  • Anonymous

    Someone needs to teach Gawker that there is a huge difference between ‘no crime’ and ‘not worth pursuing’. The latter is what happened, not the former. 

    They committed the crime, they admitted it on their site. There’s just no reason to go after them over it since they would likely get a slap on the wrist and a baby fine anyone since the parties involved on the Giz front have clean records. 

    They could still be sued by Apple, they are certainly still off the guest list for life. and they are still pretty much considered a joke by every other tech blog out there. And many advertisers still won’t touch them. 

    • Not to mention that most of Gizmodo’s editors are halfwit jerks.

    • Peter Cohen

      “Someone needs to teach Gawker that there is a huge difference between ‘no crime’ and ‘not worth pursuing’. The latter is what happened, not the former. “

      I’m certain they’re very much aware of the difference, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to conflate the two in public remarks.