Prosecutors Charge 2 Men with iPhone 4 Prototype Theft

Two men are being prosecuted in connection with a secret iPhone 4 prototype that was found in a California bar more than a year ago and later featured on a technology blog.

The San Mateo County District Attorneys Office has charged two California men 22-year-old Brian Hogan of Redwood City, Calif. and 28-year-old Sage Wallower of Emeryville, Calif. with one count each of misappropriation of lost property. Wallower also was charged with one possession of stolen property. Their arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 25.

But the DAs office has decided not to charge to Jason Chen, a blogger for Gizmodo, who published images of it online after the device was purchased for $5,000.

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,” Gizmodos parent, Gawker Media, said in a statement. 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.”

Hogan and Wallower recovered the iPhone prototype from an establishment in Redwood City on March 25, 2010, after an Apple employee lost the device, according to prosecutors.

The case became a public spectacle in April 2010 when Chen posted photos to of the then-secret iPhone 4 prototype. One of the defendants allegedly sold the device to Chen and Gizmodo.

Morley Pitt, San Mateo Countys assistant district attorney, explained why prosecutors decided not to prosecute Chen.

We had a conflict between the penal code and the 1st Amendment and California shield laws,” she told the LA Times. We felt that the potential Gizmodo defendant [Chen] had a potential 1st Amendment argument one that we werent prepared to address on this particular set of circumstances.”

Last year, law enforcement officials raided Chens home, seizing dozens of items, including computers, hard drives and documents.

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