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Charges Finally Made in the Missing iPhone 4 Prototype Case, Gizmodo Cleared

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Remember back in March of 2010, when a prototype iPhone 4 was stolen from a bar in Silicon Vally, and was ultimately sold to Gizmodo? Well, Gizmodo now reports that charges have finally been officially brought against the two individuals who sold the device to the tech site.

On the flip side, Gizmodo, their parent company Gawker Media, and editor Jason Chen, have all been cleared of charges in connection with the case. Here is a press release from the San Mateo County District Attorney’s office regarding the case:

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has filed misdemeanor charges against two individuals for the misappropriation of an iPhone 4 prototype that was lost by an Apple employee and subsequently recovered in a Redwood City establishment by the defendants on March 25, 2010. Brian Hogan, 22, of Redwood City was charged with one count of misappropriation of lost property, and Sage Wallower, 28, of Emeryville, was charged with misappropriation of lost property, and possession of stolen property. Their arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 9:00 in Redwood City. After a consideration of all of the evidence, it was determined that no charges would be filed against employees of Gizmodo.

Apple Engineer Gary Powell left the phone in a Redwood City bar, which was picked up by one patron, and handed to Mr. Hogan. Wallower tried to sell the device to multiple tech news outlets before finally selling the device to Gizmodo.

Of course, this case has seen a lot of drama. The police raided Gizmodo editor Chen’s apartment and took computers as evidence. The search warrant floating over Gizmodo was ultimately withdrawn due to the company’s cooperation in the case. During the case, it was debated as to whether California journalist shield laws should protect journalist to the fullest extent, or whether Gizmodo took it too far.

The way I look at it, Gizmodo bought an item they knew was stolen. Journalist shield laws or not, that’s still wrong.

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