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Authorities Will Not Charge Gizmodo Over iPhone Prototype Purchase

If you remember the iPhone 4 frenzy back in 2010, then you remember Jason Chen, a writer for Gizmodo. He was the one who bought a prototype of the iPhone 4 that an Apple engineer left at a bar and then Chen published a story about it that revealed the new phone's new specs.

Probably because Apple is known to be so secretive, the story blew up. And a few days later Chen's home was raided by a law enforcement task force called the Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team.

But yesterday, the San Mateo County assistant district attorney decided not to charge Chen, because he was "not motivated by financial greed." Instead, said Morley Pitt, Chen claimed he did it while performing a journalistic investigation.

"We had a conflict between the penal code and the 1st Amendment and California shield laws," Pitt told the Los Angeles Times. "We felt that the potential Gizmodo defendant [Chen] had a potential 1st Amendment argument — one that we weren't prepared to address on this particular set of circumstances."

The two people alleged to have found the phone and sold it, however, are not so lucky. They will be facing misdemeanor charges.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.