Hearing Friday on whether to unseal search warrant affidavit in iPhone case 

A San Mateo County Superior Court judge on Friday will decide whether to unseal a search warrant affidavit in connection with a next-generation iPhone prototype found at a Redwood City bar in March.

A joint police task force served the search warrant at the Fremont home of a technology blog editor who had purchased the iPhone, disassembled the phone and posted details of it on the blog, gizmodo.com.

The iPhone was found at Gourmet Haus Staudt on March 18. Brian Hogan, 21, was at the bar when another customer handed him the phone after finding it on a bar stool, according to Hogan’s attorney Jeffrey Bornstein.

Hogan later sold the phone to the technology blog Gizmodo for $5,000, thinking the blog was only going to review the phone, according to Bornstein.

But the gadget-focused blog chronicled the path of the iPhone, disassembled it and listed “All the details about the next iPhone’’ on its website.

Silicon Valley-based Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, which is comprised of members of various police departments in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, then served the search warrant at editor Jason Chen’s home on April 23 in connection with the possible theft of the iPhone, and took a computer and other items.

A number of news media organizations want that search warrant affidavit unsealed, but the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office is hoping Judge Clifford Cretan will opt to keep it sealed, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

“The district attorney’s office wants to keep it sealed so it doesn’t affect the investigation,” he said.

Attorneys for the news organizations including the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Seanet, the Los Angeles Times, Wired.com, the California Newspapers Association, and the First Amendment Coalition will be requesting the search warrant be unsealed, Wagstaffe said.

No one has been charged with any crimes in connection with the case, and Wagstaffe said it could take weeks before the district attorney’s office decides whether to file charges against anyone.

The hearing will take place in Department 6 at 9 a.m.


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