The San Mateo County District Attorney will not be pressing charges against Gizmodo or parent company Gawker Media over the controversial “misappropriation” of an iPhone 4 prototype.
However, the DA has already filed misdemeanor charges against two individuals involved in finding and selling the device.
Brian Hogan, who discovered the prototype in a Redwood City bar last year was charged with “misappropriation of lost property,” while Sage Wallower stands accused of the same count as well as possession of stolen property.
As you may recall, Gawker Media (allegedly) paid the two a cool $5,000 for an exclusive story on the iPhone 4 just weeks before Apple officially debuted the next-gen handset.
Interestingly enough, it turns out that Steve Jobs himself actually contacted Gizmodo editor Brian Lam to demand the return of the phone to Apple. Lam said he would only return the iPhone on condition that Cupertino confirmed the iPhone did in fact belong to Apple.
Obviously, the iPhone was not (willingly) returned, as Gizmodo disassembled the prototype, snapped pictures and posted them on the ‘Net.
A warrant was subsequently issued, resulting in the seizure of four computers, two servers, an iPad, iPhone, Airport Extreme base station and external hard drives from Gizmodo editor Jason Chen.
Gawker reacted to the DA’s decision with the following official statement:
“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.”